7.21 is still very young and with the DreamLeague Season 11, the Stockholm Major qualifiers being the place where the pro teams tested their first ideas of what might be viable to play these days, we got to see a few unconventional strats. Some were gimmicky enough to appeal to any Dota 2 player so, if you didn’t have the time to watch all the regional qualifiers, here are a few things that shouldn’t surprise you next time when you try to win a pub game.
Alright, that’s not exactly something new. The hero has been played in the mid lane and quite successfully at times, since TI1 era. However, in competitive matches, he vanished from that core role and it became a staple hero for some of the pro support players. Fy, YapZor, Jerax, Cr1t have mastered Rubick to perfection and inspired thousands of us to play the hero. The qualifiers for the DreamLeague S11 Major started with a few teams from SEA, China and South America trying to bring back Rubick to the mid lane. EHOME, Chaos, Thunder Predator, Mineski have all given it a go. They all left behind the support traditional build, Arcane Boots, Blink and tried to use the spell amplification and Rubick’s cast haste at maximum potential. Regardless of the game outcome, the players who tried mid lane Rubick now, have all had a good laning stage and that’s why it won’t be completely surprising to see some of their fans trying to replicate in pubs what they saw in the qualifiers.
Below there are three examples of mid-lane Rubick builds from the DreamLeague S11 qualifiers.
Mid Shadow Demon
This one is going to be very annoying to play with or against it. The mid Shadow Demon was brought to us by OG and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen. The idea behind a core SD is to pair it, like in the old days, with another core that can work miracles with his illusions. A few years back we had a considerable stretch when pros would prioritize the Shadow Demon-Luna fast push combo. It was a very hard to deal with strategy and it needed a whole patch to be downgraded. During these qualifiers OG tried to bring back quite the same combo, but with a twist. Shadow Demon received two big buffs in 7.21 patch. Soul Catcher and Poison mana costs have been considerably reduced, which makes the hero pretty viable in mid lane as he can keep the distance from his opponent while spamming the Poison to take him down with the Shadow Poison Release spell.
Shadow Demon is supposed to dominate the early laning stage while he is also extremely efficient as a team fighting tool. OG paired the hero with Terrorblade or Anti-Mage, but their mid lane SD build was not that different from what a position 4 support would do. Having the luxury of going mid, OG’s SD has always started the laning with a Null Talisman and rushed Aether Lens and Aghanim’s Scepter. The beauty of SD mid is the accelerated farm which, obviously, makes the hero a true pain to deal with through the mid game stage and that’s why you might get to play a couple of games with a Shadow Demon in the mid-lane now.
Chaos Knight-Chen-KoTL aggressive trilane
The trio was one of the most successful aggressive trilanes of the qualifiers. Team Secret simply crushed with it and a few other teams followed suit, including Liquid and OG. However, OG did a bit of a mistake when they gave it a go and started with dual lanes, which didn’t go well at all. If you play solo ranked only, you might see people trying to replicate the combo, but as an offlaner Chaos Knight has been played a lot lately in competitive matches, you might also see people first picking the hero. So, if you are one of the supports trying hard to win the game, you might want to look at some of the Team Secret matches VODs to see how to turn what can potentially be a disaster into a brilliant strategy.
The utility Sven is becoming more and more popular. Virtus.pro, and more precisely Alexei “Solo” Berezin find the support Seven as something that fits like a glove their hyper aggressive playstyle. It’s not the 7.21 patch that makes Sven viable in the support role, but rather the game plan behind it. Sven doesn’t need mana to be effective in zoning out the opposite carry and he doesn’t need a lot of mana to boost your team fight potential either. If the laning stage goes well, and with a support Sven who knows what he’s doing it should, then he can easily transition into a fourth core. So, if you see someone in your pubs suggesting a strategy like that, don’t rush reporting the player. Work with him and you might even take a fast 20-25 minute victory.
Triple- quadruple Bracer support build
Speaking about VP and Solo, we feel like we should warn those who haven’t watched their games closely, that multiple Bracer build is still something that they do religiously. There wasn’t a single match in the recent qualifiers where Solo wouldn’t build at least two-three Bracers. The stats bonus, but more importantly, the +6% Magic Resistance granted by the item are reasons that make this itemization so appealing to a support who likes to chase, to dive, to be extremely aggressive.