EHOME’s Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng takes the time to analyze one of the best games, if not the best, of The International 2; his team facing off against the Malaysian side of Orange eSports in the third round of the losers’ bracket.
Chinese powerhouse, EHOME, returned to their homeland from Seattle, United States after taking a convincing sixth place at the second edition of The International. One of EHOME’s members, Zhang “LaNm” Zhickeng made a 75-minute video about his game using Tiny against Orange eSports. However, due to the bad quality of the video, It’s Gosu has decided to summarize it using an article instead of adding subtitles.
“Hello everyone, I am Zhang “LaNm” Zhickeng from EHOME. A lot of fans are interested in the game we played in the third round of the losers’ bracket of The International 2 against Orange eSports. I will explain how Tiny works in this game. I hope this video [Here article] can help the community.
Bans and picks phase
Orange’s first ban is Rubick because they do not have a player who can comfortably play this hero as a solo or support. They like to play a very aggressive early game and favor push strategies. As a result, they are very strong in early and mid-game, but if they have to play to late game we have the advantage, as we studied them beforehand. The Naga Siren, Lycanthrope and Dark Seer bans are very standard, and therefore do not need any explanation. I am not quite sure about Naga Siren but Lycanthrope can end a game fast. They then decided to ban Chaos Knight; a hero that we used alongside Morphling in our previous game against compLexity Gaming. I suppose they analyzed that game, which is probably the reason they banned Chaos Knight in this game. After some discussion, we decided to ban Leshrac because Orange are very good at using this hero, especially Y-God. Furthermore, Leshrac is particularly good in the early game. I skip some of the bans/picks process because it is boring.
Orange’s first pick is Morphling, a very popular hero, especially with LGD Gaming as they never lose with him. We decided to opt for Tidehunter and Tiny after much discussion. The former has the ability to play either on solo lane or as a support hero; he has a very important impact in team fights. As a result, he is a very important pick in this metagame. Orange’s next picks are Invoker and Chen while we decided to go with Wisp. We expected them to pick Chen as they like to control the early and mid-game.
The bans are very standard as we know each other very well. We banned Shadow Demon because we did not want to give them the opportunity to be strong in the early game. On top of this, Shadow Demon would be particularly annoying as he would disrupt one of our heroes while using the Tiny/Wisp combo. We then wanted to pick Broodmother in order to enhance our laning ability, but unfortunately they were faster than us to pick this hero. Fortunately, we have Tidehunter to deal with her. By picking these heroes, we understood that Orange’s strategy was to split push and gank with their core heroes; Morphling, Invoker and Broodmother, while our line-up was more adapted for 5vs5 team fights. Even if we lose our lanes, as long as we do not lose them horribly, we still can win the team fights with the help of Tidehunter and Brewmaster unless we lack items. We then chose Shadow Shaman as last pick since he has the potential CC against Broodmother and Morphling, not to mention that he is very good for ganks and not too bad in team fights.
Broodmother starts with +2 Armor, which implies that he may want to get early pushing abilities by buying a Ring of Basilius. Mushi’s individual skill is very good so it is no surprise to see him in position 1 with Morphling. PCT saves 250 gold to stay in the off lane. I think this is very standard since he can just sit and wait for another 250 to purchase boots, and if you get a chance to solo offlane you can buy the shield immediately or save for an early bottle. KingJ’s mid item is common as well. He does not want to outlane the opponent so I can get what I want in terms of gold and experience.
Our safe lane consists of Shadow Shaman and Wisp protecting Tiny. We also put a ward to this camp in order to prevent Chen from getting powerful creeps.
Our top lane was going to be tough as they had a sentry ward set but we countered it with sentry wards too, which made them leave. Our Tidehunter played by PCT faces Mushi’s Morphling on the bot lane. Here is a tip: When Morphling is not a high level, you must not play passive with Tidehunter; once Morphling gains levels you will not have a choice. As a result, Tidehunter must be played aggressively before he reaches level three and must use Anchor Smash to get both last creep and harass to reduce Morphling’s base attack damage.
Back on the top lane, Chen managed to get his first creep, and tried to take advantage of it by ripping the lane. They have probably studied our strategy using Tiny, and want to get early kills with Venomancer. The most important part about Orange’s line-up is that if they help Broodmother to destroy the first tower, he will have the lane and jungle control, and can thus become very fat. We cannot let them do that as once Broodmother and Chen control our lane and jungle, we would have no chance considering that they have two other good solo heroes; Invoker and Morphling.
We play on the dire side, and therefore we have the advantage of pulling two camps of creeps on the safe lane. While doing this, they tried to make one or more kills near our first tower so I went inside the wood and was waiting for them if they were planning to come this far. Broodmother could not do anything so they backed off.
Once again, since we are on the Dire side, we can pull several creeps which is not possible in Warcraft III DotA.
As mentioned above, they have Chen and Venomancer who are very strong on their lane in early game, but we can pull creeps, and thus avoid important fights but gain experience and gold instead. If they try to make risky moves by trying to kill us near our tower, we just have to be safe and back off which forces them to back off too. Once we have level superiority, we can finally consider fighting with them. We cannot engage in a fight when we are all level 1 because of Chen and Venomancer. That is why we have to get experience and gold through the creep camps.
We have to play very safe on our top lane because if they kill us, it would then be very easy for Broodmother and Chen to destroy our tower which could make us lose the game. That is why they are very aggressive in early game with this composition.
After 5 minutes of game, Morphling has almost the same number of last hits and denies simply because PCT did not manage to use Anchor Smash well enough [Check the tip above]. Morphling does not have to use his Waveform in early game so Tidehunter has to smash him before he gets level three. Once Morphling gets his level, there is nothing that Tidehunter can do but sit and get experience. In order to play Tidehunter this way, you need to make the right decisions, and it takes time and experience. If you do not understand, let’s talk about the reasons Natus Vincere’s Dendi is so strong solo mid. We carefully studied his playstyle, and we found out that he is very good because his denies are always very high no matter who he faces. His experience about how to play on lane and his ability to know when to push it, when to hold it, when to deny and when not to, make him a very good player. In order to become a very good solo player, you need to be very careful and know when to take important decisions.
After six minutes, I am already level six; we can now talk about my skills build:
Level 1 – Avalanche
Level 2 – Toss
Level 3 – Avalanche
Level 4 – Toss
Level 5 – Avalanche
Level 6 – Grow
You only get an additional 40 damage when you level Avalanche from three to four. I like to skill my ultimate as soon as I can since it improves the base damage, movement speed and the damage of my second ability, Toss, by 35%. Skilling Grow once you get your level 6 is very good especially when you lane against Broodmother. You have 132 base damage which means that you can last hit and damage very easily. [Ironically, in the video, he misses two last hits, and points it out]. I will level up Toss once I get to level 8.
We successfully held the early game, and therefore Chen was not able to do too much considering that we also had an advantage as far as levels go. I am already level 7 at this point with Phase Boots already in my inventory, and I can easily take down Chen or Venomancer. The reason I opt for Phase Boots over Bottle is because Tiny is the only hero in this line-up who has a right click power in late game. Phase Boots can only help me survive on my lane. Arcane Boots can be a possibility against Broodmother, but I am position 1 so I chose not to. If we have for example a Morphling or Anti-Mage as position 1 in our line-up, my Tiny is thus considered position 2, and I can purchase Arcane Boots to get higher levels (by using my combo and killing spiderlings). Later on, you can go with Blink Dagger which would obviously help you to gank.
Orange’s Mushi and his Morphling managed to get the first blood at bottom lane after Chen decided to give him a hand. First blood for Morphling is not good news at all for us as he already has the highest last hits of the game and good early items.
After purchasing boots, Tiny should go for a bottle because Wisp lacks mana so you can recover two heroes with one bottle, but I went for Phase Boots instead in this game. As long as I do not waste my combo, there is nothing that Venomancer can do but sit and watch.
Their Morphling is getting stronger. After getting the first blood, he managed to take down the first tower bot. We are definitely not in a good shape, but this was expected considering the bans/picks. Our only hope is to get a late game; if we manage to hold the early to mid-game, we should be fine.
On top lane, I noticed Venomancer’s skill animation so we decided to kill him very quickly, which we successfully did. On the mid lane, all Brewmaster has to do is to use his Thunder Clap on creeps and ship the bottle for a fast Blink Dagger.
At the 11th minute, I saw there were a lot of Spiderlings so I decided to use my combo to get more gold and experience. However, I then decided to leave my lane as I was level 9 while Dai’s Wisp was only 5 so I wanted to give him the opportunity to get his level 6. Once he gets his ultimate, we can start protecting the second bot tower after we lost the first one earlier in the game. In the meantime, Shadow Shaman continues to pull creeps while Wisp plays safe so he can get experience without having any risk of getting killed as we had no idea where Chen and Venomancer were.
On the mid lane, Winter’s Invoker forced KingJ to go back home after using a very good EMP. However, KingJ had enough money to purchase his Blink Dagger which is a good sign for us. After 13 minutes, we were satisfied with the progress of the game, but we were worried about Morphling who was already too farmed. They cannot team-up and use the power of Invoker and Morphling to push towers so their only solution is to split push as we have very good team-fights while Orange only has one solution: farm.
On top lane, we tried to kill Broodmother using the Tiny/Wisp combo, but it unfortunately did not end well as we both died to Morphling who got a double kill, which means that our first top tower was about to get destroyed.
[Tip] I will take this opportunity to talk about Tiny’s combo (Avalanche and Toss). For those who are not too familiar with this hero, if you use Avalanche while the enemy hero is tossed, the damage will be doubled.
After 14 minutes, Morphling is preparing a Linken’s Sphere, and I strongly disagree with this item choice. When a Morphling does particularly well in early game, he should not opt for defensive items like this one. He would have put our Wisp and Shadow Shaman in a very delicate situation if he had purchased an Ethereal Blade instead. After seeing his item choice, we decided to chill because his items build increases his survival ability in team fights. Nevertheless, their line-up is not good in team-fights. So seeing this Orb on Morphling is particularly bad for them.
After destroying our first mid tower, they then tried to take down the second one but Chen sent Morphling home and we took this opportunity to use the Tiny/Wisp combo to teleport and kill him which we successfully did. I then cleaned up the top lane since Broodmother was pushing it and I had enough mana to kill his Spiderlings. You should kill Spiderlings as often as possible so it gets harder for Broodmother to push lanes efficiently. However, since Broodmother noticed that I did not have Arcane Boots, he played very aggressively, because Arcane Boots can double the mana of Tiny and Wisp if they are connected.
Due to high demands on forums, I will now use my perspective view. Our Shadow Shaman was a bit out of position and was picked up by Invoker who used his Tornado/EMP combo. We then knew that Invoker was not bot lane so we decided to play more aggressively as we tried to take down Morphling, who was currently bot. If he had an Ethereal Blade, we would not have considered doing so, but since he only had an Orb, we were not afraid of him whatsoever. Shortly after, some actions were happening top. Our Tidehunter completely missed his Ravage which did not hit anyone, and this was due to bad communication.
Despite our lack of communication and Tidehunter’s failure to use his ultimate efficiently, we still managed to kill Invoker thanks to Brewmaster’s ultimate. That being said, PCT failing to use his Ravage with Tidehunter was not a big problem even if we rely on it a lot. Orange’s strategy is to split push while our line-up is more team fights oriented. So at the end, we can use his ultimate more often as long as it gets something. We should never hesitate to use it even if it can help us to escape from a dangerous situation.
At the 18th minute, Wisp and I started to work together again as we used his potential to be anywhere on the map. We need to farm a lot more but Morphling was definitely a big problem. At that moment of the game, only Wisp and I can prevent Morphling from farming. He is definitely fat but, on the other hand, he does not create opportunities for his teammates to get more items so it handicaps them greatly. Despite Morphling being well-farmed, I was also farming very well, not as much as Morphling, but at least my teammates could benefit from it too. My goal was to try to give them more gold. What I did is farm the risky lanes that my teammates could not farm and leave them the safer lanes. By doing this, we increased our chances to do well in team fights. This game is not only about having advantages on lanes.
At around 19:50, we both got trapped by Invoker which forced Wisp to use his ultimate. This kind of decision is made early on to escape situations like this. To our surprise, Invoker (who was accompanied by Chen,) did not wait for our comeback and teleported top where we were pushing their first tower. Our Tidehunter unfortunately paid the price as he died to Morphling. We cannot waste our time on Tidehunter’s death; we had the opportunity to farm as Orange gave us space since they teleported top. This was a good opportunity for us to get more gold and experience. Ideally, if your opponents get a kill, you have to push in order to compensate this death. However, it is a pretty tough situation if they push the second tower right after killing Tidehunter as it would be a 5vs4 fight. Once again, we lost a teammate during the fight, we could not wait and think what we had to do, and we had to react fast.
After 21 minutes into the game, I decided that my next item will be Aghanim Scepter. I normally go with Manta Style if we have the advantage, but this was not the case in this game. I had to enhance my team fight and farming speed so Aghanim Scepter was the right item for that. Manta Style is more an item for survivability.
Something abnormal happened to Morphling as his replicate was killed, and therefore his teammates had to stay around him and protect him while they were pushing our second bot tower. However, it was enough for them to take down this tower and there was nothing we could do to save it so we had to do something else to compensate this loss. In that situation, the right thing to do is to push their tower or gank. We managed to gank Venomancer but due to my mistakes, Wisp did not have time to relocate, and was killed by Broodmother.
After 24 minutes of the game, Wisp and I focus on pushing lanes while our teammates have to stick together. Once Orange are ready to fight, Wisp can use his ability to teleport us to the battlefield. THIS IS HOW TINY AND WISP WORK!!!! This combo is not about teleporting somewhere to gank nor about how strong Tiny is in late game. The secret of this strategy is to let Tiny farm and push lanes while Wisp’s role is to make sure that Tiny can pick up a hero who is dangerous to Wisp. For example, in this game, I can take down Invoker by using a couple of right clicks while protecting Wisp. By doing this, we then have the advantage, and we can try to fight in 5vs4 or we can simply push lanes. Some fans asked why Wisp is not used with Chaos Knight. The problem with Chaos Knight is that he does not have as much burst damage as Tiny, he only has some physical damage. In a 5vs5 team fight, for the first couple of seconds, physical damage is not as good as the burst/nuke damage that Tiny provides. As a result, Chaos Knight cannot protect Wisp efficiently but this combo is probably better in public games since those games have less discipline as far as team fights go. For ganking only one hero, Chaos Knight is probably better than Tiny. Long story short, this strategy is about improving team fights, and Tiny has the potential to carry the game. A 5vs5 team fight can happen at any moment, even if Tiny is farming a few seconds before that moment. However, if your opponents have a line-up that favors team fights, Tiny and Wisp will happily gank a few heroes.
Back to the game, it’s the 27th minute, and I finally have my Aghanim Scepter. In the meantime, my team was in trouble top so we used Wisp’s ability to go there and help and we successfully managed to take down Invoker. In this fight, the objective is to focus on Morph so he does not have too much space to take down our squishy heroes. However, Invoker bought back, and we had no chance to kill Chen so we fell back. If only I had my Aghanim Scepter (NOTE: It was in the courier that was on its way) right before this fight, we would have won that team fight instead of losing it.
During this fight, Morph tried to kill our Shadow Shaman but I used my combo which helped my teammate to stay alive for a short period.
Overall, this fight was not too bad for us. We lost a Tier 2 tower as well as some support heroes, but we killed Invoker and forced him to buyback. We also managed to kill Morphling and I earned around 1 500 gold in this fight. Now that the fight is over, we have to push their lanes very fast since their line-up is very good for lane pushing too.
Since they do not have heroes like Brewmaster and Tidehunter, I do not have to go with Black King Bar so I can finish my Manta Style instead. Manta Style is very important on Tiny. At the 30 minute mark, we managed to pick up Broodmother. I only used my Avalanche because I wanted to save my Toss in case he wanted to teleport.
While we were killing Broodmother, they took down Roshan but it did not matter because the aegis does not have a huge impact in their line-up. We were still using the same strategy; namely Tiny and Wisp pushing lanes while the rest of the team was staying together on the safer lanes. By doing this, we could engage any team fight - we were always prepared. I continue to think that if Mushi had made an Ethereal Blade first instead of Linken’s Sphere, we would have been disadvantaged a lot in early game. As a carry, your items must help the whole team. If you look at DK.BurNIng and Hyhy’s Morphling, they always go for Ethereal Blade when they own the early game.
At the 32nd minute mark, we once again ganked Broodmother. You can witness how good Shadow Shaman is in late game.
Once again, I have to mention how the carry should create space for his teammates in order to allow them to catch up in items. The role of a carry is not just to farm, farm, farm; it is also create opportunities for your teammates. That is why BurNIng and Hyhy are great.
At bottom, we met Morphling and I attacked him instead of using Avalanche and Toss from the start. Tiny’s Craggy Exterior has 300 range which means that you have to stay close. Once Morphling gets passively stunned, you can use your Avalanche/Toss combo and keep attacking him; you could possibly solo kill him. This also applies to other ranged heroes.
Later on, Broodmother and Morphling cannot do much without their teammates. Orange’s problem in this game is that they focused on the early game too much as they wanted to finish it fast.
At the 36 minute mark, our Brewmaster got picked up while he was supposed to stay with Shadow Shaman and Tidehunter. When they tried to push our Tier 3 tower, we had the ground advantage because we managed to kill the creeps very fast using my combo. If you want to engage the fights efficiently, you have to stick together and you have to farm as a team so Wisp and Tiny can work well in the game. You do not lose team fights when you farm and push lanes. Wisp’s ability also helps Tiny a lot as he does not need to purchase a Blink Dagger.
In late game, I use my illusions from Manta Style: One pushes a lane while the other cleans up the jungle which forces them to defend while my teammates can farm without risking dying. My next item is Assault Cuirass which is a very good item along with Aghanim Scepter as the psychic damage output is very important. Another very important item is Manta Style for survivability and statistics. If Tiny is not stunned or hexed during team fights, he is unstoppable. In this game, Orange did not buy a Hex so it really helped us a lot.
The rest of the game was not interesting enough. EHOME had the advantage and it did not change.
Translation by HJ830
Written by Mali