The drafting encounter – Planet Odd vs Newbee; MiSeRy- vs Faith
The teams have rather different styles when it comes to drafting. Rasmus 'MiSeRy-' Filipsen, captain and drafter for Planet Odd, seems to make most of the drafting decisions with occasional input from his teammates. His genius drafting played a huge part in their 2nd place finsh back at The International 2016. On the other hand, Newbee drafts mostly as a team. Hu 'Kaka' Liangzhi, Song 'Sccc' Chun and Zeng 'Faith' Hongda are seen to be in constant discussion throughout the drafting phase with occasional input from Xu 'Moogy' Han and Damien 'Kpii' Chok. Nonetheless, Faith is the one that makes the final decision. There is no right or wrong in either drafting styles and it all boils down to the dynamics of each team.
Both teams have their own go-to niche picks and we are likely to see lots of respect bans coming out. Naga Siren could be a surprise pick for either team as both Newbee's Kpii and Planet Odd's Roman 'Resolut1on' Fominok are insanely good with that hero. With that said, let us venture into the thought process behind each of the drafts in the Grand Finals of Galaxy Battles between Planet Odd and Newbee.
Game 1: The return of Underlord
In the 1st ban phase, MiSeRy- decided to remove Drow Ranger and Batrider from the pool. Drow was a pretty obvious ban as Newbee is one of the only few teams that will first phase pick a Drow and have extremely good success with it. The 1st phase Batrider ban was a bit puzzling but it seemed like a respect ban after the Game 2 loss to Kpii's Batrider in the Upper Bracket Finals of Galaxy Battles.
On Newbee's side, they banned away the Nature's Prophet and Bristleback. Prophet is one of Planet Odd's niche picks which they can play either on Resolut1on or David 'MoonMeander' Tan. As for BB, it is one of the strongest 1st phase pick heroes now due to its huge versatility when it comes to laning. MiSeRy- went on to first pick Night Stalker which also acts as a deny pick with Newbee also prioritizing that hero quite highly. Newbee responded with Sand King + Disruptor.
Sand King has been Newbee's first pick priority for the longest time as it is probably Kaka's best hero. Also, it allows for flexibility too as Kpii can be the one playing it as well. As for the Disruptor, it is one of Faith's go-to hero and they like to pair it with Kaka's SK. The first phase of the draft was completed with a Crystal Maiden pick by Planet Odd, which is yet another tier 1 pick in the current meta. The Arcane Aura is super useful in fueling the Night Stalker's aggression in the early game.
Newbee focused their 2nd phase ban on offlane heroes which are strong against Disruptor – Omniknight and Legion Commander. As for Planet Odd, MiSeRy- went for targeted bans on Moogy's Sven as well as Kpii's Dark Seer. I really like the Dark Seer ban here as it would have amp-ed up Newbee's team-fight potential. The classic combo of Vacuum into Kinetic Field-Static Storm combo, coupled up with an Epicenter-Burrowstrike sends shivers down the spine just thinking about it.
Newbee went with a Juggernaut + Underlord in the 2nd phase. Juggernaut is a good pick here for various reasons, including the fact it can Blade Fury out of CM's Frostbite, it's a Natural Manta Style carrier to combat the silence from Night Stalker and it has a pretty strong combo with the Disruptor in lane which can zone out almost any offlaners, allowing the Sand King the freedom to roam around. Despite being a forgotten hero, the Underlord pick here by Newbee is actually brilliant. Planet Odd 3rd picked Puck and Underlord is super annoying for the Faerie Dragon to play against. Pit of Malice has a 750 cast range (875 with Level 20 Talent) and is almost a direct counter to the Puck with the root mechanic. Moreover, the 1.8 seconds root duration at level 4 is more than enough time for the Disruptor to set up his combo and Underlord is a natural Mekansm and Pipe carrier which would mitigate whatever AOE damage that Planet Odd would have.
The Puck pick by MiSeRy- is meant to find and crowd control the backline supports, preventing them from getting off their team-fighting spells. I would think that Ursa is a pretty good pick for Planet Odd here as not only is it good at zoning out the Underlord with Fury Swipes (against Atrophy Aura), Enrage also completely counters Omnislash. However, MiSeRy- decided to pick the Clinkz for Resolut1on instead, fearing that the Ursa might get kited heavily in the team-fights. Clinkz is pretty good in lane against Underlord with Searing Arrows and can sneak behind the backlines to quickly pick off Newbee's supports.
Down to the last phase, Newbee removed the Death Prophet and finished up their draft with Sccc's Dragon Knight. The DP ban was mainly to avoid the unfavorable matchup for the DK. Similarly for Planet Odd, they picked up Aliwi 'w33' Omar's Invoker, while removing the unfavorable matchup of Templar Assassin.
Newbee's draft is pretty straightforward with a plan - group up as 5, push towers, secure objectives, take Roshan and go high-ground. It is extremely well-rounded with insane push from Dragon Knight and Juggernaut, huge sustain from Healing Ward and Underlord's Mekansm as well as crazy team-fight potential from the supports. As for Planet Odd, taking a 5 v 5 team-fight against Newbee's lineup in the mid game is almost suicidal. This lineup that MiSeRy- has drafted excels in picking off heroes before moving on to objectives of their own. They have to try to break up the 5-man deathball of Newbee by split pushing whilst picking off the stragglers on Newbee's side.
Newbee has a much easier draft to execute with a straightforward game plan in mind while Planet Odd has to out-maneuver Newbee for a chance at victory. It feels that MiSeRy-'s side has little margin for error and a slight misstep in the mid game might mean a quick lost of barracks for Planet Odd.
Draft Advantage: Planet Odd 45% - Newbee 55%
Game 2: Counter-draft vs Counter-draft
Simiar to game 1, Drow and Bristleback were banned by Planet Odd and Newbee respectively. However, both teams made changes in their 2nd ban. MiSeRy- decided to take away the Night Stalker instead of the Batrider this game. Without the Night Stalker in the pool, Newbee felt that the Keeper of the Light would be too much of a problem for them and banned it over the Nature's Prophet. Knowing that it was extremely unlikely for Newbee to pick up the Nature's Prophet, MiSeRy- went for the Sand King first, denying Kaka of his 1st choice hero. Newbee then responded with Earth Spirit, which is another of Kaka's signature hero and Crystal Maiden, which is a tier 1 support pick. As expected, Furion was the choice for the Planet Odd side.
Learning from their loss in game 1 of the Upper Bracket Finals against Planet Odd, Newbee decided to focus their bans on the heroes they lost to – Gyrocopter and Warlock. In turn, MiSeRy- removed Batrider and Ember Spirit from the pool. The Ember ban is rather peculiar as Newbee hasn’t picked that hero for an extremely long time. However, being one of the greatest drafters, MiSeRy- probably had a plan in mind.
Newbee went for Sven, which is one of Moogy's go-to carries, as well as Kpii's Underlord again. Sven is one of the better carries to lane against Nature's Prophet as he can deal well against the Treants with his Great Cleave. Planet Odd responded with Martin 'Saksa' Sazdov's Winter Wyvern and Resolut1on's Razor. WW is extremely good at battling against Sven with Cold Embrace as well as Winter's Curse and it used to be one of Saksa's best heroes too. As for the Razor, it is fully capable of zoning out the Underlord on his own during the laning phase and Static Link is super strong against Sven during team-fights.
The mid for both teams are left to the last pick yet again. Afraid of a deathball strat from Planet Odd, Newbee decided to ban away the Dragon Knight which they used so effectively in game one. Having respect for Sccc's Queen of Pain, MiSeRy- banned it away and picked up Storm Spirit for w33. This Storm pick is rather questionable as Newbee has a lineup that deals pretty well against it. However, my guess would be that Planet Odd is trying to have a semi-global lineup that forces Newbee to stick close together and be less efficient in farming. Back to Newbee's last pick, there are actually not many viable heroes left for Sccc. With a Winter Wyvern in play, Newbee wanted a mid that is able to deal out huge burst of magical damage. With QoP already banned, the next most obvious choice would be the Lina. Another reason why Lina is a strong pick here is her ability to clear creep wave extremely fast which is important against a Nature's Prophet.
Based on the draft, both teams rely heavily on their mid-laner to have a good game. As such, the focus of the early game will likely be in the mid lane. With Kaka's Earth Spirit gank potential, Planet Odd's supports have to be ready to protect w33's Storm Spirit. The tempo set by either Sccc's Lina or w33's Storm Spirit is probably the crux to taking the victory in game 2.
Both teams have drafted pretty well to counter whatever their opponents have and it feels like the team with the better execution is going on take game 2.
Draft Advantage: Planet Odd 50% - Newbee 50%
Game 3: All-in draft by Planet Odd
Newbee stuck to the same bans as game two (Bristleback and KotL) whereas Planet Odd switched things up by banning the Sand King instead of the Drow. MiSeRy- first picked Nyx Assassin and Faith replied with Juggernaut and Crystal Maiden. Surprisingly, Newbee did not go for the 1st phase Drow pick, possibly fearing that Planet Odd has something planned to counter Drow strats. Another intriguing thing is the 1st phase Jug pick by Newbee. As good as that hero is, it is rarely picked in the 1st phase. Regardless it is a strong hero that can be played both as a carry or mid, providing some versatility early on in the draft. Back to expected picks, Planet Odd went back for their Nature's Prophet.
In the 2nd phase, Newbee respect-banned w33voker as well as Resolut1on's Drow, which would make Planet Odd's pushing strength extremely powerful. In response, MiSeRy- took out Kpii's Underlord as well as Sccc's Dragon Knight. After losing 2 straight games against the Underlord, it wwould have been pretty surprising if Planet Odd did not ban him. As for the DK ban, MiSeRy- is afraid of the same fast-paced tempo that Newbee had in game 1.
Faith then went on to pick Kaka's Clockwerk and Kpii's Centaur Warrunner. The Clockwerk support is pretty bad against Nature's Prophet in lane as there are Treants to spread the damage from the Battery Assault and a good Prophet seems to always be able to Sprout himself out of Power Cogs. However, Clock is pretty good against the split pushing nature of Prophet with both Rocket Flare and Hookshot. Planet Odd replied with Saksa's Oracle and w33's Queen of Pain. The Oracle pick here is pretty weird as there is nothing in Newbee's draft so far that the Oracle is good at countering (I.e. Dark Seer's Ion Shell). It makes one feel that Planet Odd is planning on something cheesy like Oracle + Huskar. It became even more obvious when they 4th picked w33's hero since they almost always last pick their mid hero. Ther are several reasons why QoP is good here, including her blink out of Omnislash and Power Cogs, the character having good burst against Juggernaut when Jug Blade Fury, as well as agood matchup against most mid heroes.
Newbee used their final ban on Faceless Void, which would have been a really good pick up on Planet Odd's side with Newbee having 0 defensive spells to can save allies caught in the Chronosphere. Faceless Void also pairs quite well with Oracle as Time Walk during False Promise will just remove whatever damage the FV has taken, and most of Newbee's heroes have really short cooldown spells and will suffer quite heavily against a well-timed Time Dilation.
As for Planet Odd, they removed Shadow Fiend from the pool and as expected, MiSeRy picked up the Huskar for Resolut1ion. SF was a good ban as the high physical damage output of SF is extremely good against Huskar and with the support Clock, farming Cogs will put the SF at around 12 souls even before the creeps spawn. With the last pick Huskar by Planet Odd, Newbee had a long discussion before finally picking the Terrorblade for Moogy, leaving Sccc with the mid Jug. The TB pick is pretty good here as Huskar tends to struggle against illusion-based heroes and TB has absurd amount of physical damage which is good at dealing with Huskar.
The win condition for Planet Odd was pretty straightforward – play around the Huskar, take early objectives and Roshan and pressure Newbee into their base. As for Newbee, everytime Terrorblade's Metamorphosis is up, they need to try and make something happen to relieve the pressure from the Huskar. Kaka on his Clockwerk plays an extremely important role as he needs to find the Oracle in the team-fights and zone him away from the Huskar so that the rest of Newbee can focus down him down with their heavy physical damage. If the game goes late and Newbee's duo core is able to maintain a decent networth, the Huskar is going to fall off and Terrorblade will just take over the game.
Despite the cheesy draft of Huskar + Oracle from Planet Odd, Newbee's heroes are more than capable of dealing with it. It feels that Planet Odd is on a timer and every failed high-ground push is going to be extremely costly. Planet Odd seems to have put most of their eggs into the Huskar basket and Newbee has the right counter to that basket.
Draft Advantage: Planet Odd 41% - Newbee 59%
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