DK vs. WE
The Chinese powerhouse DK throws down against WE. DK has been streaking through the championships recently, leaving a burning trail of victories in their wake. WE, however, is no pushover, and have taken on a set of high-tier teams, coming away with victories. With Obsidian Destroyer, Invoker and Dark Seer fighting it out against Weaver, Puck and Windrunner, this looks like it could be a high-intensity game!
|The Pick/Ban analysis|
|First Ban Phase||First Pick Phase|
Two of the central Chinese heroes, Lycanthrope and Syllabear, are removed due to their huge mid-game power and pushing strength. Batrider and Lich are removed as powerful laners, while Earthshaker's powerful support abilities are denied. Shadow Demon is removed as one of the strongest heroes in the game.
With the first pick, DK snaps up Invoker immediately due to his versatility and hard-hitting spells. Windrunner, Puck and Vengeful Spirit are taken due to their mobility and widespread disables. By picking Nerubian Weaver, WE sets the stage for either mid-game oriented play, or to use Weaver to protect a heavy carry into the late game. DK has to answer to the threat Nerubian Weaver provides. With Chen, DK can field a very safe long lane, as well as a dual-jungle strategy.
|Second Ban Phase||Second Pick Phase|
Spectre, Witch Doctor, Broodmother and Necrolyte are banned. DK wisely removes Spectre in anticipation of a Weaver-to-Spectre transition. With Weaver keeping things together in the mid-game, Spectre has a huge window to farm to her heart's content. Witch Doctor provides a solid disable, amplify and AoE heal. Broodmother is another core Chinese hero and would provide a counter to Weaver with her early pushing strength. Finally, Necrolyte is an interesting ban. It actually implies that Weaver will be their central carry. Necrolyte's ultimate can be a devastating counter to Weaver: his ban makes Weaver a lot safer. It is very likely that he was also banned to stop the Chen-Necrolyte combination providing massive amounts of heal, which would counter the sustained DPS of Weaver and Windrunner.
The final picks are interesting. DK takes Obsidian Destroyer and Dark Seer. The Obsidian Destroyer is not only a strong counter to Weaver, but also provides a huge amount of damage even in the mid-game. Dark Seer is a key support hero, as well as a strong trade-off laner. With the Chen pick, Obsidian can take a very safe long lane in order to farm. Dark Seer, with his natural tankiness, will be able to support the Obsidian and the Invoker during the game. WE takes two support-based heroes: Enchantress and Crystal Maiden. Enchantress and Crystal Maiden are both great counters to Chen (with Enchant and Frostbite), as well as highly item-independent. This frees up a lot of farm for WE's carries and semi-carries during the game.
I believe that Nerubian Weaver is the critical hero for this game. With Weaver as their primary carry WE is focusing on mid-game domination in order to take home a victory. If Nerubian Weaver does things well during the mid-game, WE has a great chance of winning. However, if Nerubian Weaver fails in his role, Obsidian Destroyer will get to farm with impunity, and a well farmed Destroyer will spell almost certain doom to WE.
This game is going to come down to whether WE can keep the Destroyer down. The Obsidian Destroyer has some solid heroes to protect him: Chen, with his global heal and creep posse, Invoker with his versatility and Dark Seer can all do their best to keep Obsidian intact.
Much to my surprise, it seems that Obsidian Destroyer takes the mid lane against Windrunner. In my opinion, this is a very risky move from DK, and potentially unwise. Harbringer will be very vulnerable to Smoke-ganks, and also risks losing the lane against Windrunner. The logic behind this decision, however, may have been to place Invoker in the safe lane, enabling him to level and farm and act as a buffer against the strength of Weaver in the mid-game. Regardless of the reasoning, Burning will have to play a very conservative lane in order to survive.
|Early Game - 0:00 to 13:00|
From the get-go, both Puck and Dark Seer take heavy harassment from their opponents. Dark Seer manages to stay on his feet and farm slowly with Ion Shell, but Puck gets almost no experience as Vengeful Spirit chases him around and away from creeps.
|1:48| As expected, not only is Burning's Obsidian Destroyer out-laned by Windrunner, but is now the victim of a gank. Enchantress gets the first blood, and Windrunner is allowed to further establish dominance. Burning needs to exercise extreme caution while laning mid, or else we will die many more times.
|2:14| DK gets their first kill, with a lucky Cold Snap stun on Puck preventing his escape. He dashes into the bush, where Chen is waiting, and slams Puck in the face with some pure damage.
|3:00| In the bottom lane, Puck is still level 1, while Invoker is casually farming on level 4. This is due to great harassment by Vengeful Spirit, as well as Puck's recent death. Invoker has no worries of Puck getting an early Blink Dagger now, and has complete lane dominance.
|4:30| For some reason, DK seems to really hate Puck. Maybe it's his irritating scritchy voice. Maybe they have a deep, long-running family grudge against Mofi. Maybe they just like to kick a man while he's down. Whatever the reason, Vengeful Spirit and Chen are further denying Puck experience and gold by double-pulling creeps through the bush. Poor Puck....
|4:50| A great use of Astral Imprisonment renders WE's gank on Harbringer ineffective. However, this has pushed him far back, to a safe point in the lane, and he cannot farm while three heroes are hungrily waiting on his doorstep.
|5:40| DK's bottom lane makes a rapid transition from farming to pushing. With his established lane dominance, Invoker can readily push against the comparatively weak Faerie Dragon. With Vengeful Spirit to help out, the Scourge bottom tower falls.
|7:07| A Smoke-gank on Destroyer is successful, bringing his improved laning to a halt and setting his score to 0/2. As an equalizer, WE capitalizes on the empty lane and takes the mid tower swiftly.
|7:26| While WE has returned to their posts after the Obsidian Destroyer kill, Invoker, Chen and Vengeful Spirit amp up the pressure, taking the second Scourge bottom tower. This further associates the need for WE to choose between ganking the carry, or bringing the fight to the pushing group.
|8:45| Due to the new safety of his lane, Burning picks up the pace, swiftly gaining on Weaver's farm of 48.
|9:14| WE now takes advantage of their long lane, and pushes hard to take the Sentinel top tower. Once they disperse, DK attempts a counterpush while WE tries to gank the Destroyer mid. They are not very subtle about it, however, and Destroyer escapes to the bottom lane unharmed.
|11:00| Burning's notorious farming power is really picking up the pace now, as he overtakes Weaver in farm despite having two deaths.
|12:30| A crucial spell interaction assists WE and results in two DK deaths. Invoker attempts to Cyclone an Ensared Windrunner, in order to disable her. Unfortunately for DK, Ensnared units cannot be Cycloned, allowing Windrunner to release her spells and cycle back into the battle without taking critical damage. This fight also shows a lot of foresight from WE, as Enchantress had begun to flank DK long before there was any initiation.
Due to the increase in roaming and teamfights, as well as core items coming into play, this game has made the transition from early to mid. The critical hero, Weaver, has a score of 1/0, with 65 creeps, and currently wields a Vanguard. The 1,200 gold he has implies he is indeed going for Radiance next. Harbringer, on the other hand, has two deaths, but 70 creeps. Equipped with Treads and Staff of Wizardry, it seems that he will be trying to get a Force Staff up to provide some means of escape and mobility. Both these heroes are at level 9.
|Mid Game - 13:00 to 30:00|
|14:40| After the teamfight at 12:30, there is an extended lull in the game. Both teams are using this time to farm: DK so as to survive mid-game, and WE so as to get that Radiance up as soon as possible. Destroyer and Weaver are neck-and-neck when it comes to farm, with Destroyer up on creeps and towers but Weaver up on K/D ratio.
|16:30| WE tries to push the top lane, but is easily repelled by DK.
|18:30| An over-eager initiation wastes Puck's ultimate, rendering WE greatly weakened in their ability to conduct a teamfight. DK capitalizes on this and swiftly takes the mid tower without retribution.
|19:30| Poor scouting from WE catches the attention of creeps, and tips off Destroyer of the incoming gank. WE really blew it here: if they had gotten a successful gank on DK's primary carry they could really have halted their aggression and turned it back upon them. Fortunately for them it's not completely over, and they manage to easily take the outer bottom tower.
|20:13| Another terrible ultimate from Puck robs WE of their teamfight power yet again, as the Faerie Dragon manages to capture a grand total of zero heroes in his Dream Coil.
|20:30| A clutch save on the Dark Seer from both Chen and Vengeful Spirit not only save the hero, but also allow DK to counter-initiate with Sanity's Eclipse. The three heroes caught in it's AoE are reduced to less than half-HP as the AoE deluge continues. A vital Centaur Khan stun later, and Weaver is dead.
|23:15| in the post-teamfight lull, Obsidian Destroyer streaks ahead of Weaver in farm, ending up 35 creeps ahead. With his Ultimate Orb and 2,700 gold, a sheepstick is literally minutes away. Weaver, on the other hand, doesn't even have his Sacred Relic. Things are looking very bad for WE in terms of the original game plans.
|24:30| DK takes the middle second tower unopposed. WE wisely concedes it: without their Radiance they have very little to counter the raw DPS of the Destroyer.
|26:00| Weaver gets his Relic as Destroyer gets his Sheepstick. The main divergence in Destroyer's item build is to choose between an early Bloodstone or an early Guinsoos. While a Bloodstone allows him to enter teamfights in the mid-game, in my opinion the Hex is far more vital as a counter to the Weaver. Guinsoos also syngerizes with Sanity's Eclipse far better, and is more ideal towards a late-game Destroyer. This is a very solid indication of who is currently winning. Weaver must also be exceptionally cautious of that Hex: 3.5 seconds is all DK needs to kill him outright.
|27:00| Against all possible odds, Windrunner survives a five-man gank through a fantastic Enchant-Stun from Enchantress. Lightning-fast reflexes like this makes games amazingly intense and interesting, and I can bet DK are scratching their heads right now and wondering how on earth Windrunner is still alive.
|28:10| WE takes advantage of DK's push top to kill Roshan and push mid. This is a clever strategical decision, as they need a big teamfight to go their way so they can push to rax. They do, however, need to watch top and make sure DK doesn't get a rax themselves. Weaver gets the Aegis and they mass-teleport top.
|28:50| Puck wastes his ultimate yet again. Despite having Aegis, WE has lost a huge intimidation spell, as DK can now push up the ramp without fear of getting trapped by Dream Coil.
|29:00| Teamfight time! With Puck's ultimate on cooldown, and Weaver venturing outside the base, DK strike. Weaver's Aegis is used up in seconds via Destroyer's Sanity's Eclipse, while Enchantress, Maiden and Puck each take massive damage. Enchantress and Crystal Maiden die quickly to the follow-up, while the Radiance on Weaver starts returning some damage to DK. It doesn't last long, however: a Hex and three hits later and DK has another kill. DK takes the melee rax, two more heroes (Enchantress and Puck) and finally the ranged rax.
With the battles now centering around towers and barracks, as well as the big cores up on both primary carries, this game has made its final stage into an early "late-game" stage. Obsidian Destroyer is outcarrying Weaver hugely right now: while their creep scores are almost the same at 172 and 174 respectively, Destroyer is bringing far more to the table. DK is executing their strategy well, and is even overpowering WE during the phase where they should have been strongest. WE really needs a clutch teamfight victory to have any chance at all here.
|Late Game - 30:00 to END|
|32:20| WE manages to keep a middle-lane push at bay using their one big advantage: lots of long-ranged AoE nukes over multiple heroes. This lets them defend while not putting themselves at huge risk.
|33:15| A great swap-silence, combined with a ward from Vengeful Spirit, results in another quick death for Weaver and Crystal Maiden. The middle base tower falls, as Weaver buys back. WE manages to counter-attack effectively, chasing Destroyer away while killing all four remaining heroes.
|36:10| Another good swap allows DK to initiate into the Scourge base, killing Windrunner and Crystal Maiden in the process, shortly followed by Enchantress. They take the barracks mid, and cycle through to the bottom, quickly unlocking Mega Creeps. As their final ranged barracks falls, WE calls, giving the victory to DK.
This game was won by the key Obsidian Destroyer pick, combined with the risky gambit DK took by sending him mid. With Invoker being able to free-farm, DK managed to hold things together and even began to strike back with a vengeance during the mid-game phase. When Obsidian was farmed, he was all that was needed for a victory. What didn't work in WE's favour was that their key hero--Nerubian Weaver--got caught out repeatedly. Another factor against them was how crippled Puck was in the early game. This weakness in the Faerie Dragon resulted in hasty Dream Coils, which were often wasted and allowed DK to initiate with impunity.
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