TPL: aL vs Na'Vi
A VOD can be found here:
aL vs Na'Vi
|The Pick/Ban analysis|
|First Ban Phase||First Pick Phase|
Na'Vi begin by banning the Dark Seer, whose Wall of Replica is an exceptional skill for both pushing and counterpushing. Their second ban is Prophet, one of aL's favored heroes, a global ganker with high pushing powers. aL, meanwhile, ban Invoker, a strong solo hero whose versatility allows him to fit a variety of lineups and play styles. Their second ban is Antimage, a dangerous hard carry favored by Na'Vi's XBOCT.
Na'Vi start their picking phase with Chen, one of Puppey's favored heroes. Chen gives them ganking and pushing power, and provides an ultimate capable of turning the tide in teamfights. They continue with Venomancer and Sand King, who possess powerful AoE ultimates and good lane control. aL begin their draft with Broodmother and Shadow Shaman. Broodmother, one of their favored heroes, is a dangerous midgame carry with strong pushing ability. Shadow Shaman provides additional pushing, ganking and disabling ability, as well as an AoE ability to clear creeps. Their final pick is Dazzle, a strong supporter who greatly enhances physical DPS and provides another AoE ability.
|Second Ban Phase||Second Pick Phase|
Na'Vi decide to ban Dragon Knight, a naturally tanky hero with pushing and carrying power, often played by aL. Their final ban is Rikimaru, a powerful carry whose stealth and mobility will allow him pick off heroes like Chen and Venomancer, and whose Smoke ability can disrupt the teamfight combos Na'Vi will be depending on. aL, meanwhile, remove Spectre. Though this hero isn't currently in favor, she still can dominate the late game. Omniknight is their final ban. This extremely useful hero can either solo or support, and greatly augments his team's natural survivability with his heal, Repel, Degen Aura and Guardian Angel.
Na'Vi's fourth pick is Windrunner, a commonly used solo, capable of holding lanes and pushes with Powershot and changing the tide of teamfights with Shackleshot, considered by some to be the best non-ultimate disable. The Ukrainian side cap off their lineup by picking Vengeful Spirit, whose stun and Swap make her a fantastic initiator. aL take Night Stalker, who despite falling out of the metagame recently is still a strong ganker and initiator, especially in the midgame. Their final pick is Slardar, an extremely tanky hero whose Sprint allows him to roam the map and pick off lone adversaries.
Night Stalker will be the key hero for aL. If he can secure early farm and a level advantage, and take full advantage of his ganking power in the first night, he will be able to dominate the midgame. Na'Vi will be hard-pressed to stop him, and it's crucial that they keep him as weak as possible through the first day/night cycle. If he fails to secure early momentum, it will be much tougher for him to make an impact on the game. Though a dangerous hero, Night Stalker has fallen out of the metagame and seems to be figured out. aL will need to find ways to help him cope with Na'Vi's collection of ranged lane-control heroes if he is to reach his full potential.
Na'Vi have given themselves a very aggressive lineup. Chen's roaming and the aggressive potential of Vengeful Spirit and Venomancer can help Na'Vi secure an early advantage, control their lanes and begin to push towers. If their ganks are successful, then Na'Vi will be able to use their numerical advantage to take towers and secure a gold advantage and map control. On the other hand, if aL are able to play safely, avoid ganks and secure a farm advantage going into the midgame, they should be able to hold their own. If they can pick their engagements and allow Slardar and Night Stalker to initiate battles, then they can prevent Na'Vi from pushing and forcing teamfights. Against Na'Vi's pushing lineup, aL have three melee heroes who might struggle to defend towers against pushes without being initiated upon. Additionally, their lineup is low on AoE creep-clearing abilities.
|Absolute Legends||Natus Vincere|
|The Radiant||The Dire|
|Early Game - 0:00 to 14:00|
|04:30- 05:30| Na'Vi use a Smoke of Deceit on Chen and Venomancer, ganking Musica's Night Stalker in the middle. Vengeful Spirit initiates with a stun, Chen's Troll follows with a Net, and Venomous Gale follows to secure the kill. XBOCT's Vengeful Spirit claims first blood and Night Stalker is off to a bad start. Na'Vi transition to a push, and with Chen's neutrals and the Dire's creeps, deal heavy damage to the middle tier one tower. Snoopy, playing as Shadow Shaman, rotates middle to defend, but Chen, Vengeful Spirit and Venomancer take him out and claim the tower.
|07:30| Venomancer moves bottom with a pair of Sentry wards to gank Shatan's Broodmother. Dendi intiates with Burrowstrike and Epicenter, and the ward ensures another kill for Na'Vi. Without Broodmother there to oppose them, Na'Vi deal major damage to the bottom tier one tower.
|09:20-11:00| Na'Vi engage Dazzle and Slardar on the top lane with Chen, Windrunner and Venomancer and take down Slardar. Na'Vi's push claims the top tier one tower and continues onto the tier two, but Shadow Shaman takes the Dire bottom tier one tower in exchange. Vengeful Spirit joins Na'Vi, and Shadow Shaman joins aL. Slardar and Night Stalker initiate the battle and aL successfully defend their tower, but trade Vengeful Spirit and Chen for Slardar, Dazzle and Shadow Shaman, stretching their kill lead to 2-7.
|12:02| Na'Vi gather at the bottom lane to push the final aL tier one tower. Though Puppey is picked off by Shadow Shaman and Broodmother while scouting in the jungle, Dendi and XBOCT claim the tower, giving Na'Vi a 1-3 tower lead and increase their gold advantage.
|Approaching Mid-Game - 14:00 to END |
|14:10-16:00| Na'Vi gather their forces on the bottom lane and prepare to push aL's bottom tier two tower. aL don't have the levels or farm to contest Na'Vi without losing heroes they can't afford to lose, and the Ukrainian team takes the tower for free. They rotate middle and claim the Radiant's tier two tower without incident; however, Bulba has gone top and takes Na'Vi's tier one tower as a consolation. The tower exchange boosts Na'Vi's gold advantage to more than 7k.
|17:52| Na'Vi claim Roshan and claim the Aegis for Light's Windrunner. Because of their tower advantage and Roshan kill, Na'Vi have a significant advantage in gold which translates to a major advantage in items. While aL have Vanguards on Night Stalker and Slardar, Na'Vi have Arcane Boots and a Blink Dagger on Sand King, Mekansm on Chen and Yasha and a Point booster on Vengeful Spirit.
|19:40-21:00| Na'Vi gather in the middle lane outside aL's base. Puppey has picked up three Centaurs, who have 1400 EHP, and uses them to tank the tower. Slardar and Night Stalker engage, but the teamfight goes poorly for aL. ARS-ART's Venomancer ultimate combined with Sand King;s Epicenter/Burrowstrike combination, supported by Chen's heal, lead to a full teamwipe, with Na'Vi only losing one in return. They easily claim the tower and both raxes, and a 4-12 lead in kills.
|23:40-24:32| Na'Vi gather outside aL's bottom tier three tower. XBOCT has finished a Manta Style on Vengeful Spirit, ARS-ART has a Pipe on his Venomancer and Light has picked up a Guinsoo on his Windrunner. aL continue to lag behind in items; though Shatan has finished his BKB, no one else has picked up additional items of note. aL are ready to defend their tower but a good swap from XBOCT brings Shadow Shaman out. Na'Vi nuke him down immediately, and when aL engage, Venomancer's Pipe and Poison Nova and Dendi's Epicenter decimate them. Na'Vi claim all five of aL's heroes, the tower, the barracks, a gold advantage of more than 14k and immediately thereafter the game. aL call GG at 24:32, with the final score 4-17.
Approaching Mid-Game Impressions: Na'Vi fully exploited their lineup, aggressively forcing teamfights and taking down tier one towers early to secure a decisive gold advantage. They turned that advantage into quick core items, including Blink Dagger on Sand King, Mekansm on Chen and Pipe on Venomancer. All three items further increased Na'Vi's already large advantage in the important teamfights. Though aL had a powerful midgame lineup, they weren't able to secure enough levels and farm to hold off Na'Vi's pushes. Despite the tankiness of their heroes, they weren't able to either withstand the major AoE ultimates of Na'Vi or burst down heroes through Mekansm, Pipe and Hand of God. Their lack of AoE and ranged clearing abilities severely hindered them, especially against Chen's tanky neutral creeps, which were able to tank towers and force aL to engage at a disadvantage.
This was a fascinating game to watch. Expectation were high due to Na'Vi's form and aL's recent good results. Na'Vi proved once again that they're a top team, versatile and innovative in laning and drafting.