Manila Major: No Drow on Day Two

Drow Ranger is an easy to go hero, but lacks the stability of other carry picks.

Only three Drow Rangers were picked on day one of the Manila Majors (twice by CIS teams Na’Vi, and Empire, and once by Complexity), but on Day Two, Drow Ranger was absent altogether. The Main Event is shaping up to have mostly Dragon Knight, Death-Prophet, and Lycan push strategies. With only one Drow game from Day One resulting in victory,; none of the aggressive Day Two teams of MVP, EG, and Alliance had taken the risk of picking these easy to execute Drow Strategies. As Capitalist pointed out in his commentary on Drow Strat during the Game One draft between EG and LGD, we may see more of these  strats in the coming week at the main event. They revolve around easy-to execute push timings and with enough prayers that the opponent would make some mistakes in their gameplay, we might be seeing more Drow-Strats in the Main Event.

However, I ‘m not so hopeful and I wouldn’t hold my breath for too many Drow games. I’d argue that seeing EG, MVP, and Alliance’s decision to by-pass the Drow on Dday Two2 could be the biggest indicator of how concrete the new dynamic of aggression has become since the last patch. With most of the major teams (e.g. OG, MVP, Secret, EG, Alliance, Liquid) picking only Death-Prophet, Dragon Knight, and Lycan for push. And where we’re seeing more core Slardar and Voids for control – a role which was historically delegated to off-laners and mid-laners only.

Let’s take a look at Evil Geniuses, who seemed to be lacking of any push strategies overall. In fact, Aui_2000 has only had one Lycan performance in the group stages and no others in his last 25 games, showing us that perhaps most of the aggressive drafts of EG pre-shuffle are over. And that either they don’t feel the META supports these push strategies, or perhaps these group stages have shown us their intentions to cement their greedy play style. With Fear playing Doom on four out of their eight games at the Manila Majors and a jungle Axe, and semi-support Sand King, EG are showing us the level of farm that they expect their heroes to get through proper farming and lane rotations and high ground defence, rather than by using push or mid-game strats, which we have been seeing from the Koreans.

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Despite losing 2-0 to LGD in their first series of the Manila Majors, and finding themselves in a heated second series against Mineski, MVP decided to stick with their mid-game strategies featuring Juggernauts and Invokers alongside control cores like the Slardar, Axe, and Bat-Rider. MVP looks poised to stick with their mid-game strengths and keep to their high control heroes, especially after beating EG in their third series to stay in the upper bracket of the Main Event.

For Alliance, however, with it’s original TI-3 team roster, they seems to be continuing to favour the current META of using Death-Prophet and Dragon Knight for timed pushes, and leaving Drow out of the mix. Perhaps they hadn’t seen the usefulness of the Drow in the CIS games the previous day, where only Na’Vi were able to make it work. Or perhaps Alliance is willing only to mix part of the current META, with their regular powerhouse off-laner Bulldog and their versatile carry LODA.

The Main Event might hold some interesting end drafts though in the lower bracket with elimination matches incoming. But don’t keep your hopes up if you’re a fan of hard push lineups or just a Drow fanboy like myself. Let us know in the comments section below which push strategies you hope to see come up tomorrow, or even take a guess at how many Drow games we’ll get out of the Main Event.

Thank you, Justin Cronknight


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