More Action Less Talk 2

Posted by V "iki" V at 30 June 2010 23:03
Following More Action Less Talk (MALT) initiative, yet another replay has been analyzed, this time in regard to the Asian Dota Scene. In response to readers’ requests, a replay including EHome has been provided for you.

Similar to the First Replay Analysis featuring DTS vs LOST, this one focuses on the construction of the teams’ initial strategy as well as its execution. Can you feel the ‘aura’ yet? In this replay, we will discover an imperceptive strategy that will progressively reveal to be devastating. Follow carefully and enjoy yourselves. As a disclaimer, I would like to state that when I am pointing out “mistakes” or make a critique of any sort, this is only my personal opinion, open to discussion and of course not meant in any derogatory sense. The people in these games are all great and well established DotA players. Note that the time displayed is the time of the game (ie including the ban and picks time). Here we go.

G-League Finals Game # 1 Analysis

The bans for each team are as follows:
China EHOMEChina
Enigma Witch Doctor Gorgon Oblivion
Necro'lic Broodmother Alchemist Doom Bringer

EHome starts off by banning Enigma, Witch Doctor and Medusa: Enigma due to his terrible ultimate; also most probably because are very good at playing him. Witch Doctor is a pretty standard ban here given his annoying bounce stun and his deadly maledict spell. They didn’t want to face Medusa either. Nirvana replicates by banning slightly unbalanced heroes: Necro’lic, Broadmother whom both are great carries, lane controllers and pushers, and Alchemist because of his long stun and farming capabilities. However, it is on their last ban that both teams reveal their game strategy: EHome bans Oblivion who is the ultimate counter-spell hero due to his ward; this gives an indication from the start that EHome’s line-up might rely on heavy-casting heroes.

On the other hand, Nirvana also suggest possible game-plans by strategically banning Doom Bringer. One possibility here might be that their line-up will consist of few but crucial disablers. A carry-dependent strategy may also justify a Doom ban as a Doom’s ultimate quickly disables and takes down a carry hero.
Following these important bans, the two teams proceed to the picking phase.

Picking Phase

Our predictions from results of the banning phase are confirmed by the picks.

Crystal Maiden
EHome starts off with a Crystal Maiden pick. There, one can already see that there will be nukers as they will definitely take advantage of Maiden’s mana aura.

Demon Witch Dark Seer
Nirvana pick Lion – a great hero disabler plus a ganker- and then proceed with a Dark Seer pick. In my opinion, this is a wise move by Nirvana. Now, if they had picked Lion + a carry hero or Lion + another ganker/roamer like Vengeful Spirit (which they will later), they would have revealed their game strategy right from the start: a likely carry team relying considerably on its support heroes. But instead, they pick Lion and Dark Seer, which open up the possible combinations of their line-up. Moreover, opting for Dark Seer is in my opinion also a way to confuse theirs opponents: Dark Seer is a very situational and versatile hero, so it is not automatically clear for the opponents where Nirvana are going from there. Dark Seer himself can be played as a tank, a support, a carry or an engager. Also the different combos that can be created with his spells are endless: vacuum, movement speed boost, mass illusions etc.

Morphling Necrolyte
Coming back to EHome, the latter proceed with their strategy by picking two powerful nukers. Morphling with his wave and adaptive strike and Necrolyte for his AoE damage dealing as well as healing spell. Morphling is an “action farm hero” as Hit0mi calls it in our first MALT Replay Analysis, a “versatile ricer with good late game potential who at the same time have the ability to nuke down, control a lane and gank.” This relatively ungankable and independent hero has been EHome’s choice for a carry.

Vengeful Spirit Shadow Fiend
Nirvana now picks Vengeful and Nevermore, a sweet ganker/support/initiator hero and a solid solo carry respectively.

Beastmaster Rogue Knight
EHome, who now might have already seen a 3core carry coming in Lion and Vengeful pick, choose two solid strength heroes: Rexxar and Sven. Rexxar is a favorite pick by EHome and with Sven, they guarantee themselves two strong stunners.

Drow Ranger
This leaves Nirvana to complete their strategy by picking their last carry, Drow Ranger.

Overall, EHome’s picks suggest a well balanced line-up with great synergy: they possess frequent AoE heals, fast mana regeneration and damage-dealing spells as well as stuns. Moreover, with Rex on their side, they have the upper hand on map control.

As for Nirvana, let’s say for the time being that they are going for a 3core carry heroes plus two supports/gankers. As the game progresses, we will uncover the real strength of their strategy. Note that it is a risqué strategy though as they are going for massive damage but losing in survivability that is the team is very fragile, especially early and mid game.

Picks and Lanes
China EHOMEChina
Crystal Maiden EH.GIGABYTE.820 (Top)
Morphling EH.GIGABYTE.AAA (Top)
Rogue Knight EH.GIGABYTE.X!! (Top)
Beastmaster EH.GIGABYTE.Rcc (Mid)
Necrolyte EH.GIGABYTE.J (Bot)
Drow Ranger Nirvana.zhou (Top)
Vengeful Spirit Nirvana.insence (Top)
Demon Witch Nirvana.Dgc (Top)
Shadow Fiend Nirvana.YaphetS (Mid)
Dark Seer Nirvana.banana (Bot)

Lane assignment

Ehome decide to put Necrolyte solo bot so that he can farm well and level up quickly, which says a lot about their intention to own mid game. Rexxar is perfect for soloing mid as he is well positioned for map controlling and monopolizing runes. That leaves a tri-lane top with Morphling, Sven and Crystal Maiden. Maiden can also roam around and ward the place.

Nirvana go with Nevermore solo mid which is pretty standard, Dark Seer goes solo bot so that he gets decent farm and assume his role as a solid tank early - pretty important for a team which is fragile by nature. At top, both team’s tri-lane will incidentally meet; Drow Ranger will be ‘babysitted’ during early game by Lion and Vengeful.

Early Game

As the game starts, both teams send 5 heroes in the forests for an early first blood. Ironically, they both think of the same thing and meet no one in their respective forest. Nice warding on top lane by both teams; Ehome placing a ward in the forest right next to the lane and Nirvana placing one where the river meets top lane for clear vision of theirs opponents’ whereabouts. Apart from the first blood by Nirvana.Dgc Lion on EHome.820 Maiden, all heroes seem to manage their respective lane well. At middle lane, both Nevermore and Rexxar gets a quick bottle while at bottom lane, Dark Seer and Necrolyte manage to farm up and harass each other.

At the 15 min mark Maiden and Sven try to gank Lion in river. However, Nirvana.Yaphets Nevermore comes to the rescue, killing Sven as a result. Then, due to his early boot of speed, Yaphets manages to catch up with Maiden and nukes her down. EHome.AAA Morphling joins in and it’s a triple kill for Yaphets!

Also watch top lane at the 17 min mark: its 2 vs 3 at Scourge tower. Lion kills Maiden and escapes with red HP. Nirvana.zhou Drow Ranger also with red HP manages to kill Sven and then takes refuge in the forest at the top of the Scourge tower. Morphling with one third of his HP follows her but gets stuck and hexed by Lion who surprisingly came back. Double kill for Drow.

Later, because EHome focused warding the Sentinel forest to allow Rexxar to farm forest, top lane is not warded, which results in Morphling getting ganked. Notice how Drow engages the combat by first silencing the enemy –skill she leved up pretty early- which forces the latter to retreat towards the two shops at top lane. Notice also where Vengeful Spirit positions herself; right at the end of the two shops where Morphling can wave out and escape to the Sentinel tower.

The following table shows the creep score at the 22 min mark.
Creep Scores
China EHOMEChina
Morphling EH.GIGABYTE.AAA: 28/12
Necrolyte EH.GIGABYTE.J: 88/24
Rogue Knight EH.GIGABYTE.X!!: 7/3
Shadow Fiend Nirvana.YaphetS: 58/11
Drow Ranger Nirvana.zhou: 20/14
Dark Seer Nirvana.banana: 37/1

Mid Game

Both teams are practically equal in terms of kills but Nirvana has the lead with two towers down. A display of effective warding by EHome at 28 mins. They keep map control at the sentinel jungle area, an essential move after losing their middle tower. Nirvana.banana Dark Seer gets his vanguard – assuming his role as a tank- as well as EHome.J Necrolyte with an additional ultimate orb due to good early farm. Nirvana.Yaphets Nevermore goes for a straight Black King Bar which is a wise decision in my opinion. It not only adds solidity to Nirvana’s originally fragile line-up but also allows Nevermore to be more effective in battle.

As mid game progresses, EHome finally decides to push lanes, destroying tier 1 and tier 2 bottom towers. At this point, EHome’s line-up is reaching its full potential. The team decides to shift to top lane, ganking Drow Ranger at the same time. Then it proceeds to take down tier 2 top tower. Note that Necrolyte already has a Guinsoo and Sven a blink dagger. Taking advantage of Sven’s ulti, EHome takes down Nirvana’s base tower. However, after Dark Seer has casted his Wall of Replica, EHome decides to retreat (full HP), hence avoiding a battle clash. Right afterwards, Nirvana surprise theirs opponents by rushing to Roshan and taking the Aegis. Anyway, EHome continues to pressure theirs opponents by pushing mid. It won’t be long before the first battle clash occurs. This is the crucial moment of the match: a quick swap by Vengeful on Dark Seer makes Necrolyte miss his ulti and targets a creep instead. On the other hand, one can observe the effectiveness of Nevermore’s BKB by successfully casting his ulti. In turn this considerably weakens EHome’s team leaving Drow, Lion and Vengeful to finish the job. Four dead on EHome's side vs two on Nirvana's. This allows Drow to solo farm top lane and built up for late game.


The more the game drags on, the better it is for Nirvana’s carry-centered strategy. On EHome’s part, there is a lack of initiative: one can see their heroes roaming around and warding although they should continue pressuring theirs opponents. Instead, it is Nirvana who finally decides to push mid. They say attack is the best defense right?

Analyzing item choices, we can see that Nirvana.Yaphets Nevermore is going for blink dagger before his Manta Style. In doing so, this gives him the ability to perform the deadly BKB + Blink + Ulti combo. On the other hand, given Drow already has a Manta + Dark Seer can cast his ulti for more illusions, there is really no need for Nevermore to go Manta just yet and in addition, the dagger gives the hero more flexibility. As for EHome, in my opinion, Morphling makes a critical mistake by going Linken first. Given Morphling is the only carry hero for EHome, (Sven played the role more of a ganker early and did not farm while Necrolyte is acting more of a disabler/tank) the latter should have gone for damage (a Skadi or an Manta) to finish his enemies while his team, which does not lack in disables, assists him. Bearing this in mind, we proceed for the second important battle clash at middle lane.

Late Game

EHome’s strategic move pays off by positioning Rexxar on the hill and intercepting Lion at the back. Morphling successfully follows, resulting in a kill. However, neither Rexxar nor Sven can resist the deadly damage output of Nirvana’s ranged carries. Drow benefits from Aegis and takes down Morphling. Nirvana with three heroes versus only one on EHome’s side, destroy middle raxes easily and then retreats. It is almost game for Nirvana. At 46 mins. EHome helplessly watch as Nirvana takes down Roshan. The risk is too high to engage into another battle clash now, having already lost the previous two. Sadly, a gem on Lion also blows up all EHome’s chances for map control.

However EHome decides to push once more through top lane where they have previously destroyed Scourge’s base tower. We can observe one of Dark Seer’s combo in action by boosting Vengeful’s movement speed, which allows an easy swap with one of the opponent’s heroes.

Finally at 51 min mark, both team finds themselves at Sentinel jungle. There, Dark Seer ulties while both Nevermore and Drow activates Manta: it is a pure illusionfest. Speaking of Manta, the latter has definitely become a popular item of choice for carry heroes. First there is no more orb effect on the item and second the illusions provides additional seconds before the enemy finds the right hero and where the carry can deliver a tremendous amount of damage.


Even though, it is quite intriguing why EHome heroes, who possess two strength heroes and an AoE healing effect, goes down with such ease. I mean Rexxar even has a Heart of Tarrasque. On second thought however, looking closely at Nevermore, the latter’s damage shows +141 with… Trueshot Aura from Drow. Yet again, when Vengeful (with Command Aura) comes by, Nevermore’s damage now shows +184! Drow isn’t doing too bad either with +237 dmg, which is more than Sven’s ulti minus the illusions! Furthermore, Presence of the Dark Lord (from Nevermore) adds an additional armor reduction to all EHome’s heroes. To pull off a strategy like that with three auras which go unnoticed at first then increase carry heroes’ damage exponentially, one has to give it to With the exception of Necrolyte, the other heroes bought no armor to reduce the damage which might suggest that EHome did not quite see it coming either. Finally Nirvana makes a last push to end the game.

Final Notes

In retrospective, EHome should have taken advantage of their full potential mid game through aggressive pushes. Maybe they might have considered pushing top lane all the way the first time instead of retreating. They might have pulled it off also if Morphling had opted for damage and illusions and Sven had gone carry. But overall, it was a great performance for EHome who showed nice team play, strong organization and effective map control.

On the other hand, equally delivered a great performance in terms of strategy, item choice and execution. BKB then dagger before manta on Nevermore was brilliant and the Dark Seer pick provided the necessary support and flexibility for the team. Overall, Nirvana managed to carry their fragile line-up til the end, pulling off a strategy I am not ready to forget.

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We wish all the participating teams the best of luck for ESWC and hope to be able to provide a good coverage of the event. Don't forget to leave your comments down below.

Be sure to check our First More Action Less Talk Replay Analysis provided by Hit0mi Here.

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