Thursday, October 11, 2012

Overview of Metagame Strategies

 Meta Strategies

From what I've gathered, it's broken into 3 general categories of strategies:

  1. Push - try to knock down towers super fast (reducing mobility via TPs and safety in lane), win before the enemy has a chance to get farm and use your tower gold to overpower them with items.
  2. Turtle - farm up a hard carry, slow the other team's push, and avoid being ganked. Then win using calculated team fights and pushes.
  3. Gank - ganking overextended pushers, then using the level advantage to overpower them and win.
In their pure form, they are supposed to be sort of rock-paper-scissors where:

Push > Turtle > Gank > Push

  • If you Turtle and play safe, then it's hard for the other team to Gank. If your opponent cannot Gank, they cannot gain a gold/level advantage.
  • If you Push, the enemy cannot take the time to Turtle and farm up their carry. If they cannot farm up their carry, they cannot win fights or the game.
  • If you Gank, the enemy cannot Push because gankers can usually burst down pushers (especially overextended ones) very easily. If you cannot Push, then you cannot end the game early.

However, realistically, teams do not use a pure strategy. They hybridize and innovate.

Line Ups

Within these three main strategies, there are different lineups and strategies:
  • May need to see my post on the "Chinese Number System" for references to position #1-5.
  • Going with annotation of: safe lane - mid lane - hard lane
    • e.g. 3-1-1 = Trilane = 3 in safe lane, 1 at mid, 1 in hard lane (a.k.a. suicide lane)
  • Trilane (3-1-1)
    • Notes/Generalizations
      •  Generally have a #2 mid, #3 hard lane (a.k.a. suicide lane), a #1 farming, a #4 and #5 stacking/pulling, as well as harassing/denying.
      • Hard Lane/Suicide Lane is there to get whatever XP and Creep Kills they can, but most importantly not die
      • When done properly, your Trilane should have multiple levels advantage on your Carry (~3 against a suicide laner)
      • If the Trilane fails, then you need to recover by optimizing the Carry's farm/XP
    • Offensive  
      • Focus: Getting Kills, Denying Creeps
    • Defensive 
      • Focus: is on getting your carry farm, stacking creep camps, and once the carry has established their farm, one or both supports begin to roam.
    • Jungle (Jungle-2-1-1)
      •  #1 focuses on farming, #5 supports via harass/deny (sometimes stacking/pulling), and #4 in the jungle
      • Maximizes XP and gold
      • #4 comes around to gank and push
  • 4 Protecting 1 
    • Notes/Generalizations
      • In some cases, this refers to literally protecting one hero in battles (that was more of an old meta where Silencer was the counter to the mass AoE meta)
      • Currently, can be employed with almost any other line up because it's more of a mid-game strategy
    • Types
      • Offensive
        • Four heroes put pressure on the other team via pushing
        • Carry farms alone (usually someone like Anti-Mage, Lycan, or Morphling all of which can escape pretty easily if ganked)
      • Defensive
        •  Four heroes make sure their carry is not ganked
        • Carry farms alone - any hero that tries to contest his farm is ganked by allies
  • Dual Mid (2-2-1)
    • Notes/Generalizations
      • The Carry dual laning mid should have some form of survivability (e.g. Anti-Mage can blink, Morphling has Waveform, Brewmaster has evasion)
      • Can have a Dual Safe Lane or a (Jungle-1-2-1)
      • My understanding is that the general Focus is: 
        • to dominate the mid lane and have control of it because mid lane creeps will reach the enemy base faster than any other lane (because it's short)
        • shut down the opponent there (e.g. a Templar Assassin, Morphling, or someone that will snowball out of control if they get any advantage)
        • combat an opposing Dual Mid
      • I don't see a point in doing this if you risk letting their Carry farm
    • Types
      • Offensive
        • Focus: Killing, shutting down a mid that can snowball out of control, denying them farm
      • Defensive
        • Focus: Farming safely, rune control
        • At some point, the support can go roaming (generally once the mid is established)

 Drafting Strategies

This is just based on observation, but from what I can tell:
  • First Set of Bans (2)
    • Heroes the opponent likes to run
    • Heroes that are difficult to play against / you dislike playing against
    • Heroes that will hinder your ideal lineup (without giving too much away)
      • e.g. if you were going to run Riki, you might want to ban Slardar, but if you ban him too early, the other team might realize you want to run an invis hero and ban them out
  • First Set of Picks (3)
    • High utility heroes
    • High "tier" heroes
  • Second Set of Bans (3)
    •  Heroes that the enemy team still needs (e.g. get rid of popular carries if they haven't selected one yet)
    • Heroes that will hurt your line up
    • Heroes that will help their line up
  • Second Set of Picks (2)
    •  Anything you still need
    • Counter Picks
    • Surprise Picks
Other Notes:
  •  Some picks will force your opponent to lean towards certain picks
    • E.g. grabbing Naga Siren may prompt a Juggernaut, Enigma, etc. pick (someone that can quickly recover after Siren Song ends)
    • In low level games, picking an invisible hero early might prompt a Slardar pick (but in higher tier games, the support will just pick up Sentry Wards, Dust, and eventually a Gem)
  • Most Teams tend towards balanced/adaptable teams
    • Picking something specialized can work against you if it fails because then you have a hard time recovering using a team that's doing something other than what it's meant for
  • Most Teams run some variation of the 3-1-1
    • This synergizes well with the Number System
      • i.e. Carry (#1) + Support (#5) + Second Support/Jungler/Roamer (#4), a Mid (#2), and a solo hard/off lane (#3)
    • Variations can be having 3 in the offensive (hard) lane, two in the lane + one in the jungle, etc.
    • Having 3 in a lane and pulling it off well is very hard to counter

Special Lineups

  • Global
    •  Picking a lot of heroes with global presence. For instance: Invoker (Sun Strike), Wisp, Spectre, Spirit Breaker, Nature's Prophet, etc.
  • Wombo Combo
    • Picking heroes that have huge teamfight potential when there is good communication and timing (e.g. Enigma + Lich + Faceless Void + Earthshaker -- get their ults off in sequence and it's almost a guaranteed wipe)
  • Na'ix (Lifestealer) Dropping
    • Picking a lineup centered around using Lifestealer's ult to deliver him to fights (e.g. Lifestealer inside Nature's Prophet/Spirit Breaker/Wisp/Beastmaster's Hawk)
  • Minions
    • Broodmother + Undying (for mega nukes using Spiderites & Tombstone). Grabbing Omniknight's Guardian Angel to ensure they live in fights/pushes
  • Mega Buffing
    • Picking heroes that buff your carry to make them effective much earlier. For instance, Ogre Magi's Bloodlust, Lich's Ice Armor, Wisp's Tether + Overcharge, Omni's Magic Immunity, etc.
  • Magic Armor Reduction Trilane
    • Have Juggernaut with Pugna and Ancient Apparition so his spin does extra magic damage, or something along similar lines.
  • Mass Lockdown
    • Picking heroes that are able to lockdown enemies (e.g. Shadow Shaman, Tree, Batrider, Bane), then have a carry that can rip through them quickly while stuck in one place (e.g. Ursa, Shadow Fiend).
    • Note: with a lineup involving Shadow Shaman, Batrider, and Bane, you can effectively take 4-5 heroes out of the fight with disables.
  • Aura Stacking
    • Picking heroes that all have aura's to maximize teamfight potential.
    • Example: Beastmaster's attack speed aura, Vengeful Spirit's Base Damage Aura, Crystal Maiden's Mana Regen aura, etc.
  • (Level 1 Roshan)
    • Picking a lineup that can kill Roshan at level 1. This usually involves heroes with minions, someone that can reduce Rosh's armor, and a hero like Ursa that can stack damage on him.
    • You need to smoke into the pit usually
    • Very risky because most competent teams will acknowledge it when you have a lineup capable of level 1 Roshing
  • (All-In)
    • Putting 4-5 heroes in a lane and pushing towers very quickly in order to get a very early Rax (Barracks)
    • Extremely risky because if countered, you might have just given them several kills for only a tower or two. If it fails, you'll have to pick up the pieces because odds are, attempting to go all mid again will not work.


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