LGD vs. EHOME
Arguably one of the greatest matchups in DotA history, LGD and EHOME fought for the StarsWar title. LGD went to the finals after beating TyLoo. On the other side, and still searching for the best chemistry, EHOME reached the finals after a convincing win against CCM. And now, the rivals are set against each other. Let's see what happened in this game and discuss the concept of Pressure in DotA.
The replay can be found here.
|The Pick/Ban analysis|
|First Ban Phase||First Pick Phase|
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EHOME has the first-ban. Having the first-pick, they focus their bans on strong support heroes. Venomancer is an interesting ban, as this hero has been used a lot in all StarsWar matches. On LGD's side, they kick out two heroes that borders on the domain of imbalance and one lane dominance. It's interesting to see that Doom Bringer got out of the auto-ban list. It'll be no surprise if EHOME first-picks it.
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Shockingly, EHOME doesn't first-pick Doom Bringer, but Nerubian Weaver instead. I say shockingly because as a first-pick, Doom Bringer is much stronger than Nerubian Weaver, being able to deny a lot of heroes (Nerubian Weaver being one of them) from battle. Lucifer is a safer first-pick in general if compared to Nerubian Weaver because it's very hard to keep Lucifer down, even if you try to dominate him early with heroes like Pugna or Batrider, Lucifer can just play defensively and farm with Devour, being very hard to control. This first-pick leaves LGD with a lot of possibilities, the most sound (in my opinion) being Doom Bringer and Clockwerk Goblin. LGD answers to the first-pick immediatly by picking Doom Bringer (for obvious reasons) and Enchantress. By picking Enchantress, LGD gives EHOME some information, as Enchantress is strong at jungling, pushing and ganking. It would be ideal to execute this pick in the second picking phase to delay such information, but then there's always the risk of her being banned on the second ban phase. EHOME continues by picking Clockwerk Goblin and Windrunner, securing themselves good lanes. Windrunner has lots of options laning and item-wise. LGD picks Vengeful Spirit, not only bringing a solid support to their team, but also saving themselves a ban, as Vengeful Spirit has great synergy with Nerubian Weaver.
|Second Ban Phase||Second Pick Phase|
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EHOME's bans are very strange here. Leviathan is banned because of his raw potential to set up team-fights. However, with Doom Bringer having a lane for himself, Enchantress probably jungling and Vengeful Spirit probably roaming or protecting a hero in a lane and needing another two heroes for the other two lanes, it's hard to see Leviathan fitting into LGD's squad. The Lycanthrope ban justifies itself because of the raw potential of the hero, but, with Enchantress being on woods, it would force LGD to place Lycan in a lane. Two strange bans indeed.
On LGD's side, we see two potential roamers being banned, because EHOME played very aggressive roaming games against CCM, even roaming a Dragon Knight! This ban is clearly based on past information. But even if you didn't have past information to consider these two bans, it is still logical to find them, as EHOME alredy have three heroes to place in lane, thus making the roaming game possible.
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EHOME has lots of options here. They can stick to their already used plan of using two roamers, as heroes like Lina, Sven or the Dragon Knight they used against CCM are still in the pool. With that Enchantress pick, LGD allows EHOME the option of going for Chen. Or they could build a strong trilane. EHOME picks Crystal Maiden. Not only are they building a strong trilane, they're also giving Clockwerk Goblin a lot of ammunition to spam his rockets. LGD picks Puck. Like Leviathan, he has the potential to set and control team-fights and unlike Leviathan, he can solo the easy lane and the hard lane. Also, because of his Dream Coil, Puck works wonders against EHOME's very mobile team. EHOME picks Broodmother. With CM aura, she can spam spiders and put huge pressure on the lanes. We'll discuss her strategical potential in the game later. LGD finishes the pick phase with Gondar, hoping to use it's ultimate to counter Nerubian Weaver and Broodmother.
|Despite not first-picking Doom Bringer, (a huge mistake in my opinion) EHOME definitely has a solid team and stronger lanes than LGD. With Doom Bringer grabbing the mid lane for himself, LGD has Puck and Gondar for the remaining lanes. Both heroes would be fragile on the top lane, a weakness EHOME can exploit with their trilane. Vengeful Spirit can stay on bot lane to keep Clockwerk Goblin from farming and getting XP and Enchantress can join in and put pressure on the bot lane.|
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|Laning and game overview|
|LGD brings up an interesting strategy here. They're using both Enchantress and Vengeful Spirit in the woods. With this, both can get a decent amount of XP, leaving all the farm and XP for their solo heroes, with options of ganking bot and mid lanes. Knowing that, EHOME plants a ward in sentinel's jungle. Theoretically, this can create a level advantage for LGD: if they successfully gank bot or mid lanes, their heroes will be ahead on XP and will have an easy time farming. Seeing this, we can imagine tons of different combinations for this dual-jungle strat. With Darkseer and another hero, they could even dual-jungle the enemy woods. The tendency is that this kind of game becomes more common, as jungling received some buffs, as stated in a past feature about jungling. Back into the game. This plan leaves LGD with a weak top lane, as only Puck is there against three heroes, one with the speed to tower-dive (Nerubian Weaver) and another with a super long range nuke (Windrunner).|
We can't really assume that EHOME knows that not only Enchantress, but also Vengeful Spirit will jungle next to bot lane, but they, otherwise they wouldn't leave a ward there to keep neutral creeps from spawning. EHOME discovers it around the first minute mark, being able to see both heroes farming the neutral creeps. Now we can be sure that they know LGD's plan. EHOME needs to find an answer for this, otherwise they'll lose both bottom and mid lane, allowing Gondar and Doom Bringer to grow strong quickly. Finding this answer is not hard. If your enemy has a weakness, all you need to do is to attack this weakness. In LGD's case, their top lane is the weakness. Puck can't really handle the lane right now. EHOME can put a lot of pressure in that top lane and benefit a lot from it, quickly destroying the towers. Let's see the obvious benefits: 1) the tower gold would benefit the whole team; 2) being a hero that needs XP and gold, Puck would be really locked down, losing a lot of time.
But the stronger reason for pressuring the top lane isn't that obvious. The huge pressure on top lane is actually a bait for LGD to take, and they take it by sending heroes to protect that lane. Let's see what would happen in this scenario: 1) if Vengeful Spirit and Enchantress moves to top lane, Gondar's lane would be severely weakened; Clockwerk Goblin would have an easier time there; and Broodmother would be more aggressive in her lane, without the fear of being ganked by the two roamers; 2) if Doom Bringer goes to gank top lane to relieve the pressure, Broodmother would be free to farm and push the mid lane, getting superior level and farm and the possibility of going bottom to pick up a kill there.
As we see, if EHOME pressures LGD's top lane to the point that LGD feels forced to change their lanes, EHOME will be in a huge advantage. In general, giving up to pressure results into weakening your position in the game. When you're forced to adjust your lanes to answer your enemy's threat, you leave space behind and also leave the enemy free to explore this space left behind. We can now see the potential of Broodmother: if you can pressure the enemy and force them to move away from Broodmother's lane, she will push really hard.
However, to my surprise, EHOME didn't pressure the top lane enough. I must confess I spent a lot of time thinking why EHOME didn't push that top lane, hoping to find a good reason, I found none. It's just a depressing, horrid and shocking strategical mistake from EHOME. By not pressuring that top lane, they give LGD complete freedom to roam their heroes and dominate bot and mid lane, allowing superior farm and levels on Doom and Gondar.
|The most important actions|
|First blood happens on the four minute mark, with Enchantress and Vengeful Spirit ganking Clockwerk Goblin and leaving the last hit for Gondar. And meanwhile, no pressure on the top lane from EHOME.|
Finally at the six minute mark EHOME starts diving for Puck and damaging LGD's first tier top tower, something they could've done earlier. Puck dies, but shockingly, EHOME gives up on destroying the tower. At the same time, Enchantress and Vengeful Spirit joins forces with Doom Bringer and ganks Broodmother in mid lane, still following their roaming/ganking plan. At this time, I simply can not believe what I'm seeing: EHOME making a horrible strategical mistake.
On the eleven minute mark, Doom Bringer goes bot to gank Clockwerk Goblin with Gondar, killing him. This leaves the mid lane open for Broodmother to push. This kind of situation where Broodmother explore space left behind could've happened much earlier, leaving EHOME in a much better position in the game.
On the fourteen minute mark, EHOME goes to push and claims LGD's first tier mid tower. However, Clockwerk Goblin misses a hook on Doom Bringer, allowing him to Doom Broodmother. In the midst of the chaos, Vengeful Spirit denies the tower. Nerubian Weaver leaves the top lane with no reason to join the fight, actually losing time: LGD's first tier top tower is almost destroyed and the lane was completely free for Nerubian Weaver to farm. She gets into unnecessary danger by going into a battle and risks being killed. Because of this, it's usually better to stay in the lane in order to farm - aspecially in this specific situation, as the tower was ready to be last-hitted. The top lane that should've been pushed and destroyed from the start is finally down on the fifteen minute mark thanks to a meat wagon.
At the seventeen minute mark, we see a briliant tactical resource from LGD. Gondar, Doom Bringer and Vengeful Spirit goes top to gank Nerubian Weaver. At the same time, Puck and Enchantress are ganking Windrunner in the bottom lane, denying her the chance to TP support Weaver. As a result of this, LGD killed Weaver, Crystal Maiden and Windrunner by losing Enchantress and Gondar (Clockwerk finally lands a hook). EHOME denies it's first tier top tower and quickly destroys LGD's first tier bottom tower.
LGD executes two ganks in opposite places, making it hard for EHOME to TP support.
At the twenty three minute mark, LGD ganks and kills Broodmother in the bottom lane and starts pushing EHOME's first tier bottom tower. Trying to protect it, Clockwerk Goblin exposes himself too much, getting swapped and killed without throwing a hook or using cogs, a complete waste. EHOME's squad is nearly wiped out, and LGD gets both the first and second tier tower. At this point, Puck already has his dagger, and suddenly LGD has a lot of team-fight control and a Gondar that is only getting stronger.
LGD kills Windrunner thanks to a quick swap on the twenty six minute mark, also destroying the first tier mid tower. The second tier mid tower is destroyed on the twenty eight minute mark. A big clash starts at EHOME's base and their team gets wiped out by LGD. However, with buybacks, they're able to get revenge, kill LGD's heroes and defend their base.
At the thirty one minute mark, EHOME kills Roshan. They see Puck close by. He's used a haste rune, has Dagger, Force Staff and can phase out. Would you try to hook him, or would you save it for another situation? Clockwerk decided to hook from point-blank range and completely missed it. The entire EHOME team is baited by Puck. LGD leaves victorious from the consequent team-fight, having killed Clockwerk Goblin and Broodmother twice, quickly denying the Aegis. Clockwerk Goblin is having a really bad day.
Puck on steroids dodges a point-blank hook and baits the entire EHOME team
At the thirty five minute mark, a smoke gank from LGD results in the death of Crystal Maiden and Windrunner. LGD quickly transitions this gank into a mid push, destroying the tower and the barracks. They're already too much for EHOME to handle and eventually destroys the other lanes, winning the game.
|Due to bad strategical decisions, EHOME allowed LGD to freely play their dual-jungle game, which transformed this game into a really one-sided match. I say freely play, because in normal conditions, this kind of game would cost two towers and the top lane for LGD, making things even from the start. Also, Clockwerk Goblin had a really bad game.|
This game shows us that not pressuring is a fatal mistake. If the opponent's plan creates a mistake, this must be acted on. Otherwise you're just allowing your opponent to play for free, without profiting anything. In fact, all the superior strategies and tactics revolves into pressuring your opponent and making them leave something behind for you to explore, to the point where we can assume as a rule that you must always seek to pressure your enemy and explore the weakness he creates while relieving himself from pressure. But don't mistake pressure with blindly pushing and getting towers. The game happens on a big map, and you have only five heroes to distribute in your territory. For this reason, if you send one of your heroes to relieve pressure somewhere on the map, she'll leave space behind - for example, a lane. And this space can be used in different ways: you can use this space to push if you have the adequate hero - Broodmother is very strong on this case, because she can destroy towers really fast if there's no one to offer resistance; or you can use this space to farm, because the heroes supposed to gank your carry are fighting somewhere else because of the pressure you're creating. That said, getting the towers or free-farm is the consequence of pressuring. Pressuring is the creator, and getting towers and free-farm are the creatures. Being the creator of opportunities to take towers and free-farm, pressure is a principle. If you don't follow this principle, you won't benefit from it's effects.
There are tons of benefits from pressuring your opponent and different ways to exert pressure. In all cases, what we have in common is that you're forcing your opponent away from their original plan and make them play your game. In this specific game, the lack of pressure from EHOME in the top lane locked down Broodmother, who couldn't fully use her push potential, and Clockwerk Goblin, who was permanantly ganked by Enchantress and Vengeful Spirit. Because of the absence of pressure, LGD was allowed about fifteen minutes of intense roaming and ganking. If EHOME had pressured the top lane, this time could've been reduced by eight or nine minutes. LGD exploited this mistake and solidly won the game.