The International 2019 brought with it some amazing games of Dota 2. Many leave us with our jaws open, amazed at the depth of knowledge the professional players have about the game. One thing that often does not meet the eye but has a substantial effect on the game is stacking! Maybe throughout the stream, we might see a couple of stacks made here and there or a huge ancient stack for the likes of a Sven or an Alchemist, but more often than not, the stacking stats go amiss. Let’s take a look at how the top teams went about stacking at TI9 and how much it could have potentially affected their game. Here’s a look at how the 16 teams from the main event of TI9 did in terms of stacking.
Stacking on the basis of number of games
Before comparing teams, let’s take a moment to appreciate the high number of stacks the top teams create every game. Besides Team Secret, who have an average of six stacks per game, every team in the top 12 has an average of eight stacks per game. The bottom four teams have been highlighted as all of them played just one game, which isn’t a good enough measure of their stacking tendencies.
A lot of people are of the opinion that 8-10 stacks aren’t a big deal. Compared to the overall net worth of teams at the end of the game, maybe it isn’t the biggest of deals. Stacked gold won’t make up more than 2-3% of the team’s net worth. But why do teams prioritize it so much then? Let’s consider a case of 10 stacks. The average gold of all types of neutral camps in the game 95-115. A total of 10 stacks will be an extra 950-1150 gold. This gold when injected at the correct time for cores gets that BKB 4 minutes earlier and that has the potential to change the entire game! Just ask OG about the timing of Aghanim’s Scepter on their carry Io – without stacks, that would not have been possible within 15 to 20 minutes (along with a Helm of the Dominator). We’ll look at a few games that were affected a lot because of stacking some ways down the line…
The data here indicates Secret prioritize stacking the least and PSG.LGD, Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming love stacking for their cores. However, number of games may not be the best grounds for comparing as each team had games of varying lengths. OG and Secret had a few quick games where they rolled over the enemy. In games like those, stacking does not have a lot of prominence as compared to running at the enemy and killing them.
Stacking based on hours played
Like mentioned above, number of games might not be the best normalizer for stacking as teams have very different average game times. OG had the lowest average game time with around 35 minutes while TNC had the longest games with an average time of nearly 51 minutes! A good way of looking at the stacks is by calculating the number of hours teams spent on the TI9 main stage and looking at the stacks per hour.
The stacks per hour shift the data a bit more in OG’s favour. They may not have had very high stacks per game, but again, that is only because of their fast paced play style that ended games in 20-30 minutes (including games 2 and 3 of the grand finals). In the other games, especially the ones where they had Anathan ‘ana’ Pham on an Alchemist or Io, OG prioritized stacking a lot to make sure their cores hit their right item timings. PSG.LGD is another top team that have an insane amount of stacks – 16.1 per hour. That is the prime reason Wang ‘Ame’ Chunyu had a very high average GPM without playing Alchemist at all at TI9. The only two teams that beat PSG.LGD were Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming – both of whom made top six at TI9!
Player based stacking stats
Coming to personal stacking numbers, OG’s Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein and Team Liquid’s Omar ‘w33haa’ Aliwi lead the charts with a total of 53 stacks throughout the TI9 main event. But N0tail did play four games fewer than w33haa, so if we had to pick a winner, it would be him!
The highest number of stacks by a team at the TI9 main event was by Evil Geniuses in game 3 against Team Secret. They had a total of 23 stacks that game! EG were trailing by a net worth of 15000, but Arteezy’s Phantom Assassin was getting massively farmed thanks to all these stacks and Magnus’ Empower. One gank with the farmed PA was all it took for EG to turn the game. EG’s Tal ‘Fly’ Aizak set the record for the most stacks for a single player with 14 stacks in game 1 against Team Secret.
Team Liquid’s w33haa was the only core that had numbers which could compete with the stacks of supports. In a lot of games, w33haa didn’t have the best start to the game but made sure he stacked and farmed to be in decent shape when the mid game came knocking. The best example of that is game 2 of the lower bracket final against PSG.LGD. w33haa’s TA had an unfavourable matchup against Lu ‘Maybe’ Yao’s Huskar and as expected, his laning stage was a disaster. But w33haa went to the jungle, made stacks (9 in that particular game) and made sure his presence was felt later on in the game. Liquid had a shaky start, but made a comeback to win the game and keep themselves alive in the tournament.
Teams have different playstyles, but stacking is one aspect all of them seem to favour. Some might favour it more than others, but they know its prominence. Next time you’re in a game, try to make a few stacks for your cores and who knows, you might find yourself playing TI10!