Recently I have been taking a good look at Captain’s Draft (-CD) and thought I’d start my blog with what I consider to be a great way to draft in the mode.
You begin with a pool of 24 heroes, and then the teams ban 4 heroes total, before drafting out of the remaining 20. This means that 50% of the heroes that get through the ban phase, will have to be picked – this is a huge percent. The games will more than likely play out like a -CM game than a standard pub, in the sense you will most likely have a trilane, and a solo offlaner (rather than dual lanes which is still very common in -AP). I think most players going into the game mode have this in mind.
The Most Important Thing
Before you do anything else, before you even decide if you want to do a defensive or agressive trilane, you need to work out your offlaner. You can win with all sorts of supports and carries and mids, but if you have no hero for the sidelane solo, you are making everything very difficult for you.
Basically if the enemy has a vastly superior offlaner than you, then their carry and supports are probably going to have an easier time farming, as well as get a bunch of kills, putting 3 of the enemy heroes at a distinct advantage over 3 of yours. It may also make the supports more likely to rotate mid, not to mention have earlier boots, sticks, dewards, etc etc. The sum of it all is that your offlane hero has the most impact on the enemy heroes in the ultra early game, as there will be 3 heroes versing him.
Straight away you need to identify the offlaners. There’s heaps of heroes that can trilane support or trilane farm, but there aren’t very many heroes that are good at offlaning. Keep in mind that you may also be able to do what I would call “Pub offlaners”. Such as Slark, QoP or Puck. They’re not very good at offlaning, but they can work, especially in the right situation.
If there are heaps of viable offlaners in the pool, then there isn’t much of a problem, but with only 20 heroes to pick from after banning phase, you will probably have a bunch of supports and carries (and mids, especially since supports like Rubick, Lina and Leshrac can do very well mid) – but very few offlaners.
You need to also think about the supports in the pool. For example, Windrunner’s escape mechanism doesn’t do very well against a Bane, who can just nightmare as she windruns, completely nullifying its effects. Similarly, a Venomancer, who slow is strong and so long, that Windrunner can also have a tough time. If you are planning on first picking an offlaner, perhaps your bans should be more focused on the supports that do well against that offlaner. This is especially so when you have first pick. Of course, don’t forget about letting too many strong heroes through the pool. Tier 1 -CM bans/picks are still important in -CD, as strong heroes are strong heroes in both these modes.
Oh, and I would also like to add that Timbersaw is brutal in the offlane verses inexperienced players. Timbersaw can exploit the enemies lack of trilane skill moreso than any other offlaner. Meanwhile broodmother… yeah…. maybe it’s best not to pick her unless the AOE hero odds are in your favor.
If the enemy doesn’t get an offlane hero. They will send a hero who should get dominated by your trilane, do dual lanes (very unlikely but perhaps a dual mid), or an aggresive trilane. If you starve the enemy of an offlaner, then you should pick good trilane heroes to abuse their agressive tri/duo.
People have won against strong heroes like Lifestealer, OD and Alchemist. But if you send an ill-equipped hero to solo the offlane, then you’re going to have a bad time, and are going to be at a disadvantage from the get-go. Sure, against noobs they might excel, but on paper they should get utterly destroyed, zoned out to hell, and maybe even just feed/dove to the point where they have to abandon the lane entirely, without even being able settle for jungle. The fact of the matter is, that heroes like Sniper aren’t that good. But chucking endless gold at even a “shit tier” heroes is very dangerous. He’s not the most optimal carry, but he is still a carry, and carries excel with gold.