ESports continues to evolve at a rapid pace drawing tremendous viewership, boasting particularly large prize pools and attracting more video game enthusiasts wishing to pursue a pro-gamer career with each passing year. In an environment like this, it’s a rare treat to see professional players experimenting in their competitive matches - there’s simply too much at stake. Even the most experienced and accomplished teams feel a lot more comfortable and secure when utilizing their tried and tested strategies and picking meta-empowered heroes.
However, sometimes innovating with unconventional hero picks and strategies is exactly what you need to win the game, and Na`Vi.G2A
exemplify it perfectly. Born to Win have been able to bring fresh ideas to the table in numerous matches, trying to confuse their enemies with unusual line-ups and hero usage. Today we will take a look at some of those games and analyze why taking a risky approach moved the team closer to victory.
Slardar as a carry
Over the last few months Slardar
has been often chosen by professional players and secured a valuable place in their strategies. Overall, he seems better suited for the hard lane and the fourth position support role; his main tasks include team fight initiation and setting up ganks. On top of that, he has to save the allied heroes throughout the game and rotate early, trying to organize pickoffs, control runes and farm jungle camps.
It’s not hard to see why Slardar is picked so often these days - he clearly is a versatile hero with good fighting potential, but could he work as a safelaner? Our team, for example, ran him as a carry in one of their ESL One Frankfurt 2016 matches and it turned out to be the excellent choice. More details can be found below.
Interestingly and in contrast to the overwhelming majority of cores, Slardar has decent fighting potential from a very early point and thus provides his team with much greater advantage by participating in ganks and getting his gold for killing enemy heroes instead of creeps. All the more, he doesn’t need many items to make a big impact in a game, only requiring a Blink Dagger and an Armlet of Mordiggian to become a pretty viable damage dealer.
Another strong argument in favor of the carry Slardar is his disabling ability with a chance to stun, which in some cases eliminates the need to buy a Monkey King Bar (let alone an Abyssal Blade) afterward. His random bashes and AOE stun make him pretty strong in a 1v1 setting against other cores, while supports and squishy heroes have almost no chance to escape him uninjured.
Slardar has to jump into battles, try to back up his teammates and move around the map attempting ganks together with allied heroes. His mobility spell Guardian Sprint makes him one of the fastest Dota 2 heroes, especially with a Blink Dagger which comes in handy when starting a teamfight.
Strategy-wise, this hero is quite versatile and thus can be a good fit for many line-ups. It is worth paying attention to heroes that can reduce an enemy’s armor like Vengeful Spirit, Weaver and Dazzle, as they really work best with him; such a team would need the items like Solar Crest, Mekansm, Assault Cuirass and Desolator to be even more effective. Another benefit of picking Slardar is his ability to kill Roshan early on due to the armor reduction of Corrozive Haze.
Traditional items for Slardar include a Blink Dagger and an Armlet of Mordiggian. Another item to consider is a Black King Bar which lets him get in a team fight not fearing of being disabled or getting a debuff. The hero gains sustain through a Heart of Tarrasque or an Assault Cuirass, the latter increasing attack speed and armor. A Mjollnir and a Moon Shard help to deal more damage faster, and Silver Edge provides him with additional movement speed and invisibility, while also disabling enemy’s passive skills.
Necrophos as a carry
was hardly ever seen in Dota 2 matches. His appearance in competitive games was more the exception rather than the rule, while for pub players picking him was a way to step away from the usual meta heroes and have some fun. Since there were no defined standards for playing Necrophos, he didn't have a consistent role so we saw him picked as a hardlaner and mid laner, but his most common role was a fourth position support.
However, the meta has shifted quite drastically with the release of 7.00, and Necrophos has not only taken the spotlight as one of the most picked heroes in pubs, but also became part of competitive games where he appears from time to time. Natus Vincere
players were able to spot his carry/core potential quite a while ago and even used a similar item build to the currently popular one.
Necrophos’s advantages as a carry
Speaking of his strengths, the hero has high survivability which can win you the lane when used effectively. Few heroes would risk to attack Necrophos due to his health regen and AoE attacks provided by Death Pulse
, while his passive ability mostly affects the heroes with low HP regeneration. The most significant advantage of Necrophos is, perhaps, his magical damage, which balances out the lineups featuring heroes with physical damage abilities like Templar Assassin
and Lone Druid
, especially since it is not only his first skill but also the ultimate that does magical damage.
Previously Necrophos’s Reaper Scythe was used to prevent an enemy from buying back with the Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade, which was especially crucial if the player was able to cast Reaper's Scythe on the enemy carry. Today his ultimate is far less powerful than it once was, but it still is painful to have your respawn time increased by 10/20/30 seconds. Moreover, his ultimate has a low 25 second cooldown at max level, which means that it can be cast twice during a team fight.
Our players preferred buying an Aghanim's Scepter and a Dagon for the core Necrophos, since those items work effectively when you need to focus a single target. Besides, they saw that a Blink Dagger purchase would solve his mobility issues while a BKB would work great as a defensive item, but it was hardly possible to get that much gold as a support, so they had to settle for Mekansm and, at best, Aghanim's Scepter instead.
Our players have proved that risky decisions can lead the team to victory when you take them seriously and are particularly judicious when weighing their pros and cons. In Natus Vincere’s case, these decisions have brought positive results in many situations, accounting for some pretty amazing matchups which are still remembered by many fans.