A sneak peek into the brilliant mind of Liquid.KuroKy-

Posted by Eugene "ehzx" Hong at 12 August 2017 13:00

picture by Valve

An attempt to breakdown the thought process of Liquid.KuroKy- in the series against LGD in the Lower Bracket of The International 2017.

Kuro 'KuroKy-' Salehi Takhasomi has always been known as one of the best captains and drafters of all times and he has proven himself once again at The International 2017. In the Lower Bracket elimination series against LGD with everything on the line, KuroKy- came out big with two insane out-drafts, allowing Team Liquid to take a convincing 2-0 win over LGD. Here is an attempt to breakdown whatever might have been going through the brilliant mind of Liquid.KuroKy. 

Based on LGD's past matches, teams knew that they prioritize picking Ren 'eLeVeN' Yangwei's Magnus, even if it means first picking it. On top of that, they also prioritize Chen 'Victoria' Guanhong's Kunkka and Yao 'Yao' Zhengzheng's Ancient Apparition quite highly. When OG went up against LGD, they decided to first pick the Magnus to take it away from LGD. However, that did not work for OG and they ended up losing 2-0, ending their run at TI7. As for Team Liquid, KuroKy- decided to take a different approach – Give LGD their Magnus and use that to his advantage.

Team Liquid lineup

The Dire

GH Earthshaker Earthshaker
Matumbaman Necrophos Necrophos
KuroKy- Lich Lich
Miracle- Morphling Morphling
MinD_ContRoL Dark Seer Dark Seer
Ancient Apparition Night Stalker Queen of Pain Troll Warlord Anti-Mage
LGD lineup

The Radiant

Magnus Magnus eLeVeN
Kunkka Kunkka _Victoria
Shadow Shaman Shadow Shaman Yao
Mirana Mirana Somnus丶M
Phantom Assassin Phantom Assassin Ame-
Io Keeper of the Light Lone Druid Broodmother Nature's Prophet

In game 1, the first phase bans by LGD were pretty straight forward. They removed the Io and Keeper of the Light from the hands of Maroun 'GH' Merhej, but that meant giving the Earthshaker to Liquid with the first pick. KuroKy- chose to ban out the Ancient Apparition and Night Stalker, leaving both Eleven's Magnus and Victoria's Kunkka in the pool. As expected, LGD snagged them up as their first two picks. I believe that KuroKy- has already anticipated this whole portion of the draft as he picked up the Necrophos.  

Necrophos pick

  • KuroKy- knew that Magnus was going to be Eleven's hero on the offlane (barring any switch-up that LGD might have thrown in). As such, Necrophos is an extremely self-sustaining carry that lanes well against Magnus, freeing up the supports to help the other lanes.

  • Apart from his Reverse Polarity, Magnus is also picked up hugely for his Empower. Empower works best with melee physical carries and Necrophos works well against those too with Ghost Shroud.

Queen of Pain ban

  • The magical burst damage from QoP would be crucial in killing off a Ghost-Shrouded Necrophos.

Troll Warlord ban

  • He is a melee hero that utilizes Empower extremely well.

  • There is a high chance Necrophos won't be able to get off the Ghost Shroud due to the possibilities of getting chain-bashed.

Lich pick

  • As mentioned earlier, KuroKy- anticipated a melee physical carry to go with the Empower on the side of LGD. Ice Armor is extremely good against that.

  • Chain Frost can be very effective against a heavy melee lineup as well.

Morphling pick (Icing on the cake for KuroKy's draft)

  • Due to the slippery-ness of the hero, Morphling is extremely strong at splitting a team up and creating chaos.

  • LGD's lineup does not have the best catch on a hero like Morphling. They have Magnus's Reverse Polarity (which Morphling should be able to react and replicate out unless Magnus gets Shadow Blade), Kunkka's X Marks the Spot or a Blink Hex from Shadow Shaman. Morphling is a natural Linken's Sphere builder and it makes it almost impossible for LGD to catch him. As such, he is able to split-push freely and create a lot of space and/or chaos for his team.

  • Morphling is a natural Ethereal Blade builder as well and this works very well against a melee physical carry too.

The last ban Anti-Mage by KuroKy- is extremely clutch as AM is probably the only carry that is able to do ALL of the following:

  • Melee physical carry that make use of Empower.

  • Able to kill Necrophos in Ghost Shroud using Mana Void.

  • Able to match up to/surpass the farm speed, split-push potential, and late game carry potential of the Morphling.

At this point of the draft, KuroKy- has already gotten most of what he wanted. With the last pick being Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov Ivanov's hero, the Dark Seer was a very stable and secure pick.

  • A very strong laner, especially against melee heroes due to the nature of Ion Shell. This force supports to stay with their carry to secure the farm.

  • A hero that gets utility items such as Mekansm which can neutralize whatever AOE damage that LGD's lineup has.

Every draft has its strengths and weaknesses. The first pick Magnus made LGD's draft kind of one-dimensional/predictable and KuroKy- was able to exploit these weaknesses. He was able to prepare for it and draft a lineup that deals extremely well against it, both in terms of matchup and playstyle. Apart from his brilliance in draft, KuroKy's in-game decision to put himself mid as Lich helping Amer 'Miracle' Barqawi's Morphling was perfect too. He knew that the Morphling was the crux to Liquid winning the game and a good start for his mid star was crucial. Moreover, he is able to shut down Lu 'Maybe' Yao as a result and this crippled LGD even further as they rely so heavily on Maybe's presence in the game.

Team Liquid lineup

The Dire

GH Earthshaker Earthshaker
MinD_ContRoL Venomancer Venomancer
Miracle- Huskar Huskar
KuroKy- Dazzle Dazzle
Matumbaman Broodmother Broodmother
Ancient Apparition Night Stalker Anti-Mage Sven Bristleback
LGD lineup

The Radiant

Batrider Batrider eLeVeN
Kunkka Kunkka _Victoria
Oracle Oracle Yao
Death Prophet Death Prophet Somnus丶M
Timbersaw Timbersaw Ame-
Io Keeper of the Light Lich Invoker Omniknight

Moving on to game 2, LGD realized that they have been figured out with their Magnus and decided not to go for it. Instead, they switched it up and went for Batrider + Kunkka. However, all of this doesn't matter as I believe KuroKy- already planned for this second game to be an ultimate cheese draft – Huskar + Dazzle combo on top of the Broodmother pick. Despite the last pick Timbersaw which was possibly LGD's best pick at that point in time (with Bristleback banned), it was nowhere near enough as Liquid dominated their lanes and snowballed from there, forcing LGD to tap out in just a little over 25-minutes.

It was a masterclass in drafting by Team Liquid's KuroKy- and I am so excited to see more of him in the Lower Bracket Finals of The International 2017 against LFY. Will LFY get the sweet revenge for their sister team, giving us an All-China TI finals? Or will Team Liquid continue their crazy run in the Lower Bracket all the way to the Grand Finals?

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Do you think that KuroKy- is the best drafter and captain in the world?

Yes, hands down the best!
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No, he's up there but there are better ones.
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