01:10: LGD abuse their powerful roaming heroes to score a first blood on the Warlock, mid. Strategically speaking, it may even be wiser to go for the Warlock than the Spectre: with Warlock chain-stunned and disabled, he has very little ability to cast Shadow Word. He is also squishier than Spectre. With Warlock temporarily out of the scene, Spectre would generally lose all ability to farm due to the presence of Rexxar. As a stroke of luck on WE's part, the creeps equilibrium is disturbed and Spectre manages to farm at the tower until Warlock returns.
After this, Lina and Earthshaker move top, where Clockwerk had just survived a gank. Shadow Demon and Venomancer were vulnerable and out of position, but LGD did not capitalize on this: a potential strategical error considering the strength of Shadow Demon.
First blood on Warlock, which also pushes creeps to the Sentinel tower.
02:35: Venomancer's temporary wards prove invaluable as they alert Veno and SD to an incoming gank from Lina and ES. If the Plague Ward was not in the forest, LGD may well have scored an early double kill top. This demonstrates the crucial importance of having some map control and awareness.
At the same time, LGD is putting a lot of effort into pressuring the top lane. Lina and ES are perpetually creep pulling to draw Shadow Demon out. I think this is a strategical mistake: they should rather continue roaming and either take out Puck or Spectre. While Clockwerk may struggle against Venomancer and Shadow Demon, his Rocket means that he should be able to hold the lane without dying. This would also not only delay Spectre's late-game, but also assist Weaver (the critical hero) in getting his core up early.
05:00: LGD's pressure on the top lane pays off as they kill Venomancer. They are aware of his wards, and use Smoke of Deceit far away from them so as to sneak by unseen. The Shadow Demon, however, remains alive, and is still a threat.
At this stage, Weaver's lane against Puck has proved safe, but ultimately not ideal. Weaver is being outfarmed by Spectre, and although he is one level ahead of her, he needs to do far better so as to ensure victory for his team. This is why I believe that ES and Lina should be putting a lot more pressure on mid.
06:23: Shadow Demon proves what a dangerous laner he is by assisting Venomancer in killing Clockwerk Goblin. The combined slow and damage amplify are too much even for this tanky hero when caught out of position. Meanwhile, Spectre has her Phase Boots, while Weaver has the beginnings of a Hood of Defiance. Puck is still pretty much itemless, as he is definitely farming towards a Blink Dagger.
07:12: Fast reflexes from V's Puck save him from a gank bot. However, Weaver instantly asserts lane dominance and increases his rate of farming. He needs to really step it up so as to farm faster than Spectre, who has had free-farm in the mid lane due to the Warlock babysitting.
08:49: Shadow Demon and Venomancer descend from top lane and kill the Earthshaker. Meanwhile, Weaver and Beastmaster fail in ganking Puck. They do, however, force him out of the lane completely, which opens up the bottom Sentinel tower for the taking.
Due to the increased roaming, as well as the levels of the critical hero and others reaching 6 and upwards, I feel that the game is beginning to make the transition between early game (the laning phase) to mid game. WE note this trend, and Spectre goes to farm the top lane rather than remaining vulnerable mid. Since LGD still has a large amount of map control, Spectre needs to stay cautious and only farm where it is both safe and viable.
Currently the score is 2:2, and the most farm goes to Spectre, with 46 creeps and kill gold. LGD really has to increase their pressure in the mid-game so as to beat WE, because everything is currently going according to WE's plan.
|The current score is 2:2. Considering the plans of each team, WE is sticking to their guns, while LGD seems to have deviated slightly. Their desire to apply early pressure has been very stunted by both their passive roamers and the Warlock-Spectre dual lane mid. In order to get back on track, LGD need to apply some very forceful pressure across the map soon, as well as start properly ganking Spectre and her semicarries. Even though this part of the game should fall to LGD, they did not hurt WE's early game enough to debilitate them entirely.|
10:24: Shadow Demon, with the assistance of Spectre, kill the Clockwerk Goblin top. Even with his strong laning, WE|fnty punishes him for being within initiation range. Spectre, however, takes a lot of damage in this gank and is temporarily forced off the lane.
An important thing to note here is the question of aggression: when is it wise to be aggressive in the lane? Although Spectre has received experience and assist gold, the lurking threat of Lina and Earthshaker means that she definitely doesn't have a free lane to farm. Sometimes it is wiser for teams to play passively and avoid going in for kills, as it will mean greater farm: knowing this distinction is an aspect that often separates second- and third-tier teams with top-level professionals. However, in this scenario it may have been wise to dive for Clockwerk, since Spectre can take that luxury. Weaver is still behind her in creeps, and she is in a very solid position currently.
11:20: An important thing to note here is the dire importance of warding. Watching the top lane, you will notice that Spectre is staying far behind the creep line and is not farming at all, while Weaver catches up to her in CS. Her nearest opponent is in the mid lane. However, since WE's warding seems to have been focused on the mid lane, Spectre has no idea where Lina and Earthshaker are. The simple threat of a gank is preventing her from farming.
11:51: The roaming of Rexxar and Lina finally pays off as Weaver kills Puck past his tower, bottom lane. A crucial aspect to note here is the use of Beastmaster's Greater Hawk to secure vision behind the tower, as LGD undoubtedly knew both where Puck was likely to try escape to as well as where WE would arrive from. The squishy Shadow Demon and Spectre arrive via TP and Haunt respectively, to try turn the gank around, but Shadow Demon gets chain stunned and killed very quickly. Finally, Warlock and Venomancer arrive just in time to kill all three attackers, as well as save Spectre from the Nerubian Weaver. However, a Rocket from the Clockwerk Goblin still slays sylar, evening the kills for this teamfight to three all. This does not bode well for LGD, however: in order to win this game they should be winning these ganks and fights rather than breaking even on them.
WE couldn't have asked for a better Infernal: that Weaver must have a killer headache right now.
12:46: The Clockwerk Goblin scores a kill on Warlock. Warlock is an ideal target in this situation as, with his ultimate used up he is easy food for a great ganker like Clockwerk.
13:45: Despite a very incomplete warding setup (possibly due to a Rexxar with a Gem), Spectre manages to sense an incoming gank from a smoked Rexxar and Lina. The entire team is clearly wary of these two, and they all retreat to a more defensive position. They do not waste the Smoke, though, and swiftly kill the vulnerable Shadow Demon mid. This equalizes, however, when what must have been a miscommunication sends Clockwerk after Warlock. He gets trapped and killed by the remaining four WE players, with the kill going to the Spectre. Right now, WE is in a very strong position: they still possess their ultimates and powerful initiation spells, while LGD has no real initiation. They wisely take this opportunity to counter-initiate, convincingly killing Lina (a kill that again goes to the Spectre) and forcing LGD to retreat.
With Clock and Lina back at the fountain, WE has a small window to push against the weakened LGD. They do not use this as well as they could have, however, and fail to take the mid tower. Instead, they wasted time attempting to chase after Earthshaker. I believe that this was a clear strategical error, and potentially cost them a large gold influx.
15:33: At this point, xiao8 makes an unfortunate strategical mistake. Having just defended their mid tower, LGD rush forward to initiate on WE. In his haste, Clockwerk initiates on Puck, causing the whole team to focus on the Faerie Dragon to prevent his escape. The rest is understandable: Puck escapes with Phase Shift and Illusory Orb, and Warlock uses the relatively congregated LGD team to drop a fantastic ultimate. Venomancer also releases his Poison Nova. With this huge AoE barrage, Clockwerk is quickly amplified and killed, followed by Lina. Puck returns to battle as quickly as he got out, silencing Weaver to prevent his escape, but a Fissure from ES saves the carry. Over a matter of seconds, WE has the upper hand again, and is in a perfect position to take some towers.
The critical mistake here was for xiao8 to initiate on Puck. Any form of initiation directed at a hero with an escape mechanism is very difficult, as you race against time to kill them during a chain stun. This forced LGD to focus on Puck in an attempt to kill him before the stun wore off, and this consequently placed them in a perfect position for Warlock's Rain of Chaos. When Puck is teamed with any AoE initiator (Warlock, Tidehunter, Enigma) it is almost never wise to initiate.
With Lina and Clockwerk dead again, WE has another opportunity to push. They manage to take the middle tower before retreating. However, Warlock leaves his infernal out, which feeds LGD with a small chunk of gold and experience. Even though WE clearly has the upper hand at the moment, they must make sure not to slip up during the mid game when LGD has the potential to bite back.
A critical mistake about to happen.
17:15: There is a slight lull in the game at this point. An interesting thing to see is Venomancer farming and simultaneously stacking ancients with his Plague Wards. Even though Venomancer is a support hero, he can sustain decent DPS in the mid game, and as such this is a strategically sound piece of farming while Spectre takes the mid lane.
Both LGD and WE are dedicating this time to farming. WE is staying right on-schedule according to their plan, but LGD have had to change theirs. Since LGD did not dominate early game, they are struggling to fight WE now. LGD now seems to be aiming towards farming up Rexxar, Clockwerk and Weaver. One assumes they will try pick off one or two lone heroes before forcing a teamfight onto WE. This is currently their best, and possibly only real chance of winning.
19:05: LGD gets together mid with a large creep wave, while the Weaver farms top. This may have been an attempt to bait WE away from mid so that LGD could take the tower uncontested. However, Venomancer proves just how strong a defender he is and single-handedly stops the creep wave long enough for Shadow Demon and Warlock to come defend with him.
A very important thing to note is that even though Plague Wards have Heavy Armor (which takes 25% extra damage from melee creeps) they have enough hit points to distract a wave of creeps for a long time. They also deal Piercing damage, which is amplified by 100% on the Unarmoured creeps. Furthermore, they have a higher priority than towers, and will draw attacking creeps away from nearby towers due to this. With a 5 second cooldown and a negligible manacost, it's not hard to see why Venomancer is an amazing pusher and defender.
Once this push is foiled, note how Rexxar and Lina find and kill WE's defensive ward. They are aware that WE would ward defensively to protect their carry, and are countering these to make sure they own the map awareness and control. Weaver is now outfarming Spectre in creeps, but one has to question how much good a minor farm victory will do now.
23:05: WE uses smoke on all their heroes except Spectre (who is farming top). However, Rexxar's Hawk sees this, which means that the rest of LGD should be aware of what is happening. Four of them are currently heading top to gank Spectre; they could either succeed, which will boost their chances of winning significantly, or they could get caught in a counter-gank and decimated. However, they simply choose to not gank after Spectre retreats from the creep line.
Watch Venomancer and Shadow Demon as they use their spells to defend mid, even while under the effects of Smoke. Remember: casting spells does not dispel the invisibility, so don't hesitate to quickly save a lane if you need to!
23:35: Beastmaster returns mid cautiously, and is initiated upon by Shadow Demon and Venomancer. He escapes to a safe distance, and in return Clockwerk initiates upon Venomancer: a slightly better target due to his lack of an escape mechanism. However, the moment he has the chance to, Veno releases his Poison Nova and Warlock drops his Infernal right onto Clockwerk's head. Even through Spectre's Haunt, Clockwerk miraculously survives. However, the last two ultimates from WE (Demonic Purge and Dream Coil) make him and Lina an easy kill for the farmed Spectre, again opening the window for WE to push. With Spectre's Radiance up just before Weaver, things are looking very bad for LGD.
WE waste no time in taking the second middle tower. This shows a good strategic eye for realising that you have the upper hand and using it to your advantage by taking towers and forcing your opponents onto the defensive.
25:40: Again, a well placed set of Plague Wards defends the middle tower from Weaver and his posse of creeps. Weaver decides not to stand for it, however, and releases his Swarm before diving onto Venomancer through Shukuchi. Venomancer is caught out of reach of his team. A Shadow Demon Disruption momentarily staves off death, but it unfortunately puts the SD in a very bad position, where he is initiated upon and destroyed by Clockwerk. Both SD and Veno die when Earthshaker uses his ultimate, and finally LGD seems to be winning a teamfight. The Slayer dies in the crossfire while Venomancer buys back. This is a very wise buyback, since not only will Venomancer's ultimate help win this teamfight, but he can also be a crucial defender if WE loses. Warlock dies to Weaver, and Rexxar dies to Spectre while ZSMJ makes good his escape. He tries to take the tower, but wisely thinks better of his idea and runs away.
While LGD certainly seemed more dominant, and got more kills, this teamfight, they did not conclusively win it. Clockwerk Goblin uses his tankiness and WE's lack of interrupt to grab the dropped Gem and TP out; a very rookie error by WE in not picking it up or killing it. LGD have really not made the most of this mid-game, however, and have been outplayed by WE in all the teamfights save for the most recent. In games like these, centering around two main carries, teamfights are intensely important as, if won convincingly, they allow the winning team to push and farm with abandon for long durations of time.
Clockwerk abuses his raw HP and WE's lack of disable to steal back his team's Gem.
28:08: A smoked WE slices into the Scourge bushes and destroys a farming Clockwerk. This sends a very clear message to LGD: "You are not safe here. GTFO". Rexxar takes this advice and evacuates the woods. This is a good demonstration to the power of Smoke, throughout the game; the ability to circumvent wards and other scouting tools is both hugely useful and intensely powerful. At the same time, Weaver has been pushing bot. This is probably an attempt to relieve WE's pressure on LGD by forcing them to come defend. This would allow LGD to eke out some farm on their side of the map without having Smoked WE kill-squads tearing through their jungle. However, this only draws the attention of Spectre, who decides to farm even more off the creeps in safety. Weaver then switches mid, and applies pressure on the second tower there
LGD's mindset here seems to be: distract WE and keep them on their feet. Due to his high mobility, Weaver is good at appearing in one lane, applying pressure on it and then vanishing before he gets ganked. LGD intend to abuse this to their advantage in order to ease the pressure WE is putting on them. It works: WE stop hunting the Scourge bushes for a while and return to ensure that their base is well defended.
31:00: LGD goes for Roshan. It is imperative to their new strategy (to win this game through farmed semi-carries supporting Weaver) that they have an Aegis. I would guess that either Clockwerk or Rexxar will carry it. This is actually a very clever time for LGD to Rosh, since they know (through their wards) that WE is currently busy hunting through their bushes. However, they risk losing the top tower. At this stage, though, I feel that LGD realizes that an Aegis is more important than a tower, and have therefore decided to kill Roshan.
Surprisingly, in my eyes, Nerubian Weaver takes the Aegis. I feel that, since the Weaver has not been having issues with dying this game (one death over 30 minutes), one of the semi-carries should get it. Rexxar and Clockwerk, on the other hand, have been dying more regularly. Also, both bring important skills and auras to the table while they are alive, and to win teamfights LGD needs to make the most of these semicarry heroes.
With Rosh dead, Spectre wielding her Heart of Tarrasque and the ethos of the game changing from ganking to pushing, I feel that this game is making its last transition from mid-stages to what is known as late game. From this point onwards, the battles will be very much dictated by the questions who and how: who is the stronger carry, and how is his team supporting him. Currently, the stronger carry is Spectre, both on farm and in latent carrying ability. Also, WE is generally supporting Spectre better, with Warlock, Venomancer and Puck using their powerful ultimates to devastating effect while Shadow Demon singles out and eliminates dangerous targets. WE is in a very strong position, and if that position isn't challenged they are very likely to win.
|The score is currently 15:10 to WE. While this score might not seem one sided, it is the exact opposite of what should have happened mid game. WE, through some clever passive play and precise counter-initiation have managed to secure a very solid, profitable mid-game. Even though both carries wield a Radiance, Spectre has another third-tier item up: the Heart of Tarrasque. WE's plan, however, is working out perfectly, and they are in a very strong position. With the tower count and an Aegis of Immortality on their side, can LGD snatch a victory out of the jaws of defeat?|
32:00: As expected, LGD's top tower falls in exchange for an uninterrupted Roshan kill. This tower goes straight to Spectre and, while Weaver arrives and makes a half-hearted attempt to defend, he has to be cautious as he is without the full backing of his team.
Notice how WE places a very aggressive ward top. This ward gives a massive amount of vision of LGD's jungle, which is really important for WE so as to maintain map control and awareness when they push top. Even in their strong position, if a hero like Warlock or Puck dies without getting their ultimate off it could spell a lost teamfight for WE.
33:00: Safe thanks to their offensive ward, a Smoked group of WE heroes quickly initiate on a badly positioned Lina and ES, who have unluckily stopped in sight of WE's second offensive ward. Both are killed without letting a single spell off thanks to the stun from Rain of Chaos and the silence from Waning Rift. With an Infernal at the ready, as well as a large portion of LGD's AoE heroes gone for 40 seconds, WE should seriously consider taking the middle base tower now. They storm up the ramp and, kill Rexxar, taking out another large portion of LGD's damage and disable. Ignoring the remainder of LGD, WE takes the tower and the melee rax before drawing back.
This decisive assault has left LGD reeling. They do not even try to defend their bottom tower at 34:30 when Spectre takes it, as they are still trying to defend their middle lane and organize themselves. WE lay off the assault and spend a few minutes farming. They have the luxury and the heroes to do this, and it results in a Diffusal Blade on Spectre.
Earthshaker and Lina don't stand a chance.
36:35: WE takes another tower uncontested, in the bottom lane. It was wise of LGD to not try defend it: initiating uphill, even towards your own tower, is often a recipe for disaster. It seems that LGD have almost given up hope and now intend to try win by a crucial team-fight in their base. This turtling, however, means very limited farm to spread between a hard carry and two semicarries.
An important thing to note is that, while WE are farming, LGD takes the whole team to lay defensive wards in their bush. This will allow them to watch top lane for initiation from the bushes, as well as denying WE the security of map vision. At this stage in the game it is very wise to travel in groups, since any single lone hero will invariably end up feeding if he runs into WE's death squad.
39:00: Clockwerk clearly hasn't learned his lesson. Upon seeing a scouting Puck illusion, he immediately throws a Hook at it, only to miss horribly. If it was really Puck, and it had landed, I still do not believe that LGD would have won that teamfight. Now, Clockwerk has no Hookshot for another minute or so, and LGD is deprived of one of their means of initiation.
40:00: LGD goes in for a teamfight. A successful initiate by ddc's Earthshaker takes Puck out of the picture quickly, who is followed by Warlock falling to the hands of the Clockwerk Goblin and Weaver. Shadow Demon manages to avoid being damaged by Earthshaker's Echo Slam due to a well timed Disruption on himself. In an humorous example of karma, however, he wastes his own ultimate by mistakenly targetting Beastmaster's Quillbeast. At the same time, however, Spectre destroys the Earthshaker and the Slayer, with very minor damage to herself. If LGD had gotten initiations like these earlier in the game, it is very possible that they would have begun to dominate during the mid-game.
43:20: With Roshan back, both teams begin to watch his spawn point intently. WE considers going for Rosh, but pull away when LGD gets dangerously close. They may be in a good position, but places like Roshan's lair allow incoming teams to easily concentrate their AoE damage: a situation WE could do without.WE wins!
In quick succession, ultimates start flying: Dream Coil, Rain of Chaos, Echo Slam, Poison Nova and Primal Roar. The only death from this first wave is Rexxar, who is focused by Spectre. This is due to the two Pipes on either team (Rexxar and Venomancer). A well executed push from his own Force Staff saves SD from Weaver, while Spectre and Puck kill ES and start laying into Lina. Clockwerk and Lina both die together, with Weaver being the only survivor. The score has gone from 15:10 to 24:12, and LGD finally accept defeat.
For the first time in Dota history, Earthshaker spontaneously combusts and becomes a small star.