Quest: Failed

So I’ve been demoted to Platinum 4, and with the end of the season about two weeks away I’ve decided to throw in the towel on Diamond this season.

So what went wrong?  First of all, I didn’t play enough games, but even if I had, I wouldn’t have reached the promised land with a 20-20 record.  I feel like I had more than my share of leavers, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

On the bright side, getting my goal 60% win rate would mean winning only four games that I lost.  I very rarely felt like the other team overwhelmed us, meaning the vast majority of my losses were winnable games.

So, to figure out what I could have done better, I’m checking out tentonhammer’s article on how to get to grandmaster to see how well I followed his advice.

Learn the Current Meta.

Last I heard (which admittedly was a while ago, on Grubby’s stream) we were in a wave clear meta.  Searches regarding whether that’s still true have turned up nothing, but I figure sticking to the meta heroes will take care of this.  And looking at tentonhammer’s list, all the top-level guys have decent wave clear, even the supports (Brightwing/Auriel).

Learn as Many Heroes as Possible.

I have everyone at 5 or higher except Varian, so no problem here.  The Samuro free week convinced me that he’s now a third-tier hero on par with Falstad (RIP) and the Butcher.  I still can’t fathom how he’s the most-banned hero in the game.  That should be Varian right now, I think.

Have Flexibility.

No problem here, I’ll play anything.

Secure Meta Heroes.

I pick almost exclusively according to his list, every one of which I already owned, except Varian.  I’m still not quite sold on Hammer.  But there’s never been a draft in which she was the last available hero in the tier.

Make a Friend and Queue in Pairs.

Uh oh.  I don’t play well with others to begin with.  And the last time a random in-game (not IRL) friend invited me to do (unranked) draft games, he said “sorry gtg” about 10 minutes in and bailed out.  I guess his choice of Zeratul is great even as AI though because we won anyway.

Learn When to Boss, Camp, or Push

This is the big one.  I’d be willing to bet that in at least a third of my games, win or lose, someone lost because they didn’t know what to do.  Trying to push without minion help, going for the boss when it was too dangerous, going for the boss instead of pushing with the enemy team down…this alone could get me to Diamond.  So let’s see what he has to say.

It’s amazing to see, even at the highest rank possible, players still go for camps when the opposing team is dead. People still do it and yet it’s absolutely pointless, especially late game and if the opposition is respawning. For the time it takes to travel to a camp, capture it and the minions to walk to the enemy base, you could have quite easily burst through multiple keeps (especially above level 16). Knowing when to push, or take a camp or boss is key to pressuring the enemy. Camps and their minions aren’t really designed to be exceptional by themselves – even if they can cause trouble if left unchecked. What they’re designed to do, certainly from my perspective, is to stretch the opposition. If you’re sending wave after wave down the enemy lanes, they have to deal with them. This buys you time to move to different areas of the map, take a boss or single out a target.

I find that people simply go for the most convenient option.  Just wiped the enemy team near the boss?  Go for it, even if you could destroy a keep or win the game outright.  The boss is simply a means to an end.

If you could A) destroy a keep for sure or B) maybe destroy a keep but get the boss while doing it, you’d obviously take A) every time, but people make the wrong choice all the time.  It’s like taking a million dollars instead of a million dollar house when the house is the thing you really want.  Secure the actual goal rather than the means to get it.  A lot could go wrong.

One last point before the next section: he also says that taking a camp before 10 is basically worthless. “In fact, before level 10 I’m not even convinced you need them.”  They won’t achieve anything.  And, they’re just as likely to get you wiped as the boss if they’re on the enemy’s side of the map, so treat those just like boss camps.

Be Positive.

Got this one down, due to my “mute cancer” tactic, and others.

Don’t Give Up.

Ditto.

So I think that one change above will get me to where I want to go, but one last thing.  Pug teams just aren’t that coordinated, and something that might be the right move for a well-organized team, like destroying enemy mercs before a map event, might not be such a good move when everyone else ignores your ping and takes a team fight while you’re off killing them.  I might have to accept the loss of some forts in the future in order to avoid a game-changing team fight loss.

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