DK vs. WE

Posted by David "Saguine" Horscroft at 15 November 2011 16:57

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 PhaseFirst Pick Phase
Lycanthrope Shadow Demon Lich
Lone Druid Batrider Earthshaker

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.

Invoker Holy Knight Vengeful Spirit
Windrunner Nerubian Weaver Faerie Dragon

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 PhaseSecond Pick Phase
Spectre Witch Doctor
Broodmother Necrolyte

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.

Dark Seer Obsidian Destroyer
Enchantress Crystal Maiden

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.

Critical Hero
Nerubian Weaver

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.

WE was very clever with their picks, selecting Weaver early. As I mentioned, this opens up two potential possibilities: Weaver providing the primary carry for a mid-game domination strategy, or the buffer hero in order to ensure mid-to-late transition. This warranted a Spectre ban from DK, when Enchantress could have been a better ban due to the way she counters Chen.

I believe that Dark Seer will take the top lane, using his Ion Shell to farm from a safe distance. WE will probably send Weaver top, as is the common strategy. This lane would easily favour the Weaver, who could farm potentially dangerous amounts of gold if DK is not careful. In the mid-lane I predict an Invoker-Windrunner showdown, favouring Invoker. While this lane will not be a critical target for either team, Invoker has the potential to out-lane Windrunner, which could prove dangerous if he is left to level unchecked. On the other hand, however, Windrunner has a far stronger disable, which may allow her to make the most of an allied gank. This leaves Obsidian Destroyer who will likely take the safe bottom lane against Puck.

In this lineup, DK seems to have an advantage in the early and late game, while WE is strongest during the mid game. With Chen, Vengeful Spirit and Dark Seer present, DK have a lot of disable, as well as a lot of map-wide ganking power, in the early game. They may try take advantage of this fact to force WE's team of semicarries--Puck, Enchantress and Windrunner--to play on the back foot. This would hurt Weaver's transition into mid-game and ultimately allow DK to survive to late. WE, with multiple hard-hitting semicarries as well as the powerful Weaver, will be dangerously strong in the mid-game. DK will need to not only protect Obsidian Destroyer, but try ensure that the lighter heroes like Chen and Vengeful Spirit do not feed the Nerubian Weaver. By the time the game gets to the late stages, we will have one of two outcomes: either Weaver will have dominated during the mid stages, and will be able to easily take on an underfarmed DK, or Weaver will be dealt with successfully early and mid, which will result in a farmed Harbringer wreaking havoc on WE.

ChinaDK ChinaWE
LycanthropeShadow DemonLich
Lone DruidBatriderEarthshaker
SpectreWitch Doctor
InvokerWindrunnerNerubian Weaver
Holy KnightVengeful SpiritFaerie Dragon
Dark SeerObsidian DestroyerEnchantressCrystal Maiden
Dark Seer DK.rOtK(Top)
Obsidian Destroyer DK.BurNIng(Mid)
Vengeful Spirit DK.ZippO(Bot)
Invoker DK.Super!(Bot)
Holy Knight DK.longdd(Jungle)
Nerubian Weaver WE.i-rocks.1220(Top)
Crystal Maiden WE.i-rocks.Li(Top)
Windrunner WE.i-rocks.Chan(Mid)
Faerie Dragon WE.i-rocks.Mofi(Bot)
Enchantress WE.i-rocks.Fnty(Jungle)

The Game
Laning Analysis

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.

With Obsidian Destroyer mid, Invoker and Puck are pitted against each other bot. While Invoker has a lot of lane control, he may struggle against both the mobility and silence-nuking power of the Faerie Dragon if he is caught unaware. Unfortunately for Puck, the Chen-Vengeful Spirit combination in the jungle makes aggression a very risky thing indeed. Invoker needs to make sure Puck does not get an early Blink, because a Blinking Puck would augment WE's mid-game Weaver tremendously.

My ego is, fortunately, repaired a little but by seeing both Weaver vs. Dark Seer top and Enchantress-Crystal Maiden and Chen-Vengeful Spirit taking the jungle. With Dark Seer top, he will most likely have a very hard time preventing Weaver from farming. Instead, his goal is to get up some tanking items, such as Vanguard and Pipe, so as to protect his team and avoid feeding later on in the game. This lane is made even easier for Weaver due to the Enchantress-Crystal Maiden combination, which not only protects Weaver but will also allow plenty of Smoke-ganks on the vulnerable Obsidian Destroyer. With a lane as relaxed as this, it is very likely that Weaver will go for a fast, standard Vanguard-Radiance. On the Sentinel side of the river, the Chen-Vengeful Spirit combination will provide safety to Invoker. While they may also threaten Puck, the lack of multiple hard disables means that the Faerie Dragon should be able to escape before dying.

Overall, I feel that the Obsidian Destroyer in the mid lane has definitely given WE the advantage. While Weaver was going to farm well regardless, it has both given Windrunner an easier lane as well as taken pressure off of Puck. WE should be able to weather the early game and execute their mid-game domination plan successfully.

Important Events
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.

This means that both Invoker and Weaver have been given free-farm, to all extents and purposes. While Weaver can use farm better in the mid-game, and Invoker with an early Phase-Janggo is a very mobile, potent hero.

|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.


Obsidian Destroyer gets bullied high-school style: 4 on 1.

|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.

Strategically, Puck dug his own grave by waiting too long for his Illusory Orb. While extra distance would improve his chances of escaping, missing the Jaunt due to that critical mini-stun was what sentenced him to death anyway.

|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.

In WE's long lane, Weaver is farming without any hassles either. However, Dark Seer is doing a far better job than Puck with his farming and leveling, which will in turn allow him to be a more solid supporting hero in the mid-game. This is to be expected, as Dark Seer is a far better trade-off laner than Puck, and was actually the original "trade-off lane" hero.

|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....

Jokes aside, this is an interesting strategical choice. Due to the massive level difference, Invoker could easily out-lane and out-harass Puck from hereonin. It might be wiser for DK to start ganking Windrunner, to not only ease up Obsidian Destroyer's lane, but to also place more pressure on WE.

|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.

Something interesting to note, however, is that Destroyer is beginning to lane against Windrunner without getting out-last-hit. This is due to the Astral Imprisonment spam, which not only boosts his base damage greatly, but also acts as a damage reducer for Intelligence heroes like Windrunner.

|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.

While DK may be aiming for late-game, taking towers at this stage is strategically wise. Not only does it provide team gold which will help them through the mid-game stage, but it also applies pressure on WE and forces them to choose between ganking the already-weakened carry, or focusing on the pushing Invoker and co.

|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.

The loss of this tower is actually not a huge issue. While WE now has an extra 200 gold each, the lane has become far safer for Destroyer to farm in. While towers should not be conceded unthinkingly, this incident may well work out partially in Destroyer's favour.

|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.

Note that DK has taken this pressure to an even more tangible level. WE must either choose to go for Harbringer, or Invoker and co. Both these groups are on the other side of the map, which not only makes one safe while the other is targeted, but will waste WE's massively if they are unsuccessful with either. This is a distinct type of 4-protect-1 carry strategy, where instead of bodyguarding the carry, the four other heroes instead make a target on the other side of the map than cannot, or should not, be ignored.

|11:00| Burning's notorious farming power is really picking up the pace now, as he overtakes Weaver in farm despite having two deaths.

This alone shows the power of a solid last-hitting hero like Destroyer, combined with a well executed 4-protect-1 strategy.

|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.

With Invoker dead, there is a core hero missing in DK's strategy. Their response to this, then, is to group Destroyer with the rest of the team until Invoker returns, so as to protect him as best they can.

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.

Force Staff may seem like an odd item on a carry such as Obsidian Destroyer, as it is generally a utility item wielded by heroes such as Invoker, Windrunner, Puck and Batrider. However, it is a core item on Destroyer for many reasons. Firstly, it provides a nice "stepping stone" DPS item, increasing his damage by 20 and his mana by 130 (therefore increasing his orb by a further potential 11 damage), while also providing a much needed escape mechanism. Due to his fragility, and the nature of a 4-protect-1 strategy, Destroyer needs an escape mechanism on him at all times. Force Staff allows him to dodge area-of-effect spells, as well as quickly get a burst ahead of opponents.

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.

Personally, I think DK should be ganking now. With Invoker with Phase and Janggo, as well as Chen and Vengeful Spirit with their disables and auras, forms a formidable aggressive unit. While they will be hard-pressed to stop Weaver, they should be trying to destroy his support by killing Windrunnner or Puck.

|16:30| WE tries to push the top lane, but is easily repelled by DK.

This was a mistake. Weaver does not have his Radiance up and by pushing the lane, WE has made his job all the harder. Their goal is to get that Radiance and then slam towers, not the other way around.

|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.

DK is throwing a real spanner in the works right now: far from being defensive during this supposedly vulnerable stage, they are making full use of Invoker's great early game in order to keep the pressure up. WE seems to be struggling with regards to how they should respond, and it looks like DK's gambit with placing Destroyer mid might just pay off.


Puck gets over-excited and releases an early ultimate.

|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.

This also displays how useful an item like Force Staff is on an intelligence carry, providing both DPS and a very useful escape and dodge mechanism.

|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.

A chase ensures, and an over-hasty Vengeful Spirit doesn't pay attention to her health bar, giving Windrunner a delicious, free kill. She doesn't have long to savour it, however, and is pulped by Destroyer's pure damage.

This goes to show how vital it is to have the threat of teamfight power. With Dream Coil on cooldown, DK knew they could counter-initiate with everything they had, which gave them the boldness to dive in there and kill WE's primary carry. It also goes to show how powerfully Obsidian counters Weaver: with such massive burst damage, even a small chain-stun is enough to send Weaver to his doom.


Dark Seer survives the initiation thanks to his team.

|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.

Something interesting to note here is the bonus pure damage Destroyer deals to both illusions and Enchantresses creeps (which count as summons due to their expiration timer). With a potential bonus 400 pure damage, Enchantresses creeps are dying in a couple of hits.

|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.

In other news, Weaver now has his Radiance. WE needs to make the most of this now, as their window of opportunity is closing quickly.


Windrunner owes Enchantress one.

|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.

Let's analyse the three big mistakes made in this fight. Firstly, the premature use of Dream Coil robbed WE of a good counter-initiating spell, which allowed DK to be bolder and more aggressive. Secondly, Weaver was out at the front when WE knew that they were vulnerable. This resulted in a bold initiation, robbing him of his Aegis. In this game, with so much nuking power in DK, Weaver should be played as a hit-and-run hero, who initiates in follow-up and cycles in and out of the teamfight. The final mistake was Weaver's choice to stay and fight. With the fight 5v3, losing the barracks was almost inevitable, and Weaver should have instead retreated to avoid giving DK another kill.


Weaver < Pure damage

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.

Despite this admirable defense, I fear that this may be a case of "too little, too soon". WE might have this victory, but DK is looking more and more threatening by the minute. Another thing to note is how powerful Dream Coil is when used correctly, as it was influential in trapping the DK heroes in the Scourge base.

|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 teamfight had little to do with WE's mistakes, and more to do with the huge DPS and mobility DK has right now. It's very hard to fight against a team that both deals huge damage, and can dance around you with ease.


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.

Personally, this strategist is ecstatic that Destroyer is being seen competitively. I have long felt that he is an incredibly strong hero when played correctly. Furthermore, he is an amazing counter to Weaver, who is currently the most commonly picked mid-game powerhouse. In summation: despite an admirable effort, WE were both outplayed and outpicked in this game.

To the victor, the spoils! Congratulations to DK.



Team rankings