We banned Jugg and Sven.
They banned Kunkka and Anti-Mage. Not sure if they banned Kunkka because of MrMoustache, but he said he could play CM, so we decided to put him on CM and redbeanpork would take another hero.
We picked up CM and Clockwerk for MrMoustache and Ridehunter.
Their next two bans were Invoker and Shadow Fiend.
Uh-oh. Disaster. I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Even though Shadow Fiend is nowhere near my most played hero, I’ve probably played him the most – 7 out of my last 15 matches. However, this marks my first respect ban! I said to Pharmacist that I’m kinda like AdmiralBulldog only worse, as he had two heroes he played reliably (Lone Druid and Nature’s Prophet). I only have one!
The original plan was for Ridehunter to take mid if Shadow Fiend was taken, but we had already picked Clockwerk for him! I can’t play Clockwerk. But the only effective mid hero I can play is Shadow Fiend – with the others being Skywrath Mage and Silencer. Skywrath tends to fall off and can’t kill towers, and Silencer just needs too much before he becomes effective.
We picked up the Warlock, but spent a lot of time trying to decide on our mid hero. I think the other team must been quite happy with the Shadow Fiend ban. redbeanpork offered to play Viper in mid, but I figured he’d be a better Warlock than me, so we opted to give him Warlock and I’d take Viper. Our team was rounded out with Necro, after Pharmacist meant to pick Wraith King, but accidentally banned him instead! Not a great start to our second game.
We knew that with this line-up against theirs, we had to end the game quickly, well before Spectre would have a chance to come online. They had a decent team fight team, with Witch Doctor and Disruptor working well to keep us zoned, and Centaur to jump in and tank hits.
Mid actually went really well for me. Unlike last week’s Battle Cup, where I was Shadow Fiend and really struggled against OD, this time I was Viper, whose Corrosive Skin ability makes it hard for OD to constantly spam his Astral Imprison on me (since doing so will make him take damage, too). I think OD might have been their weakest player, because I managed to solo kill him a couple of times, even though he could have saved himself with Astral while a teammate teleported in. I couldn’t believe it, but I ended up going 9-0 at the start of the game, before dying to Witch Doctor.
I really messed up this game, and I think we nearly lost because I decided to go MKB before BKB. Once I picked up BKB, things went a lot easier for me. I went MKB first because I wanted the damage and to pre-emptively counter Spectre’s Radiance, but if I had picked up BKB first, I probably wouldn’t have died as much, and been able to have both a lot quicker than by going MKB first. I think I’m still in the support “I can’t afford BKB” mindset, but I am getting better at it – usually picking it up as my third or fourth item, depending on how the game is going.
I can’t remember if it was MrMoustache or Ridehunter who commented that I was building Viper exactly the same way I built SF. Not going to argue against that point! I played Viper the same way, and even got frustrated at how slowly he clears waves of creeps. I focused far too much on denying, even though he doesn’t pick up souls like SF, and there was a team fight when I had just died, and I was about to say that I wasn’t ready to fight as I had to farm up souls before I remembered that Viper doesn’t need them. Viper is a lot tankier off the bat than SF, which helped me a lot. And the extra damage from Nethertoxin really helped me get last hits in the early game.
You probably can’t tell from the graph, but I felt like there were a few moments in the game where it was a bit iffy that we could pull this off. Pharmacist got some good ults off, making it easier for us to break the base as we had longer before they respawned.
Fortunately, we were able to end the game in 43:31, and Spectre only had Radiance and Yasha at that point. Our CM had a higher networth than their entire team, with redbeanpork not far behind (10.8k compared to their highest on 11.1k).
With this victory, we headed towards the grand final of that week’s Battle Cup!