By: Carlo Arcovio
Dota games can be won and lost from the draft. Picking a hero that synergizes well with your allies and is difficult for your opposition to deal with is conducive of a win. Picking a hero that applies pressure to your own lanes before the game has started and flaming in chat – not so much.
Before the +25, the monster kills and even the First Blood is the draft: your first opportunity to own your enemy. When choosing your hero, take your teammates’ picks and the heroes they are hovering over into consideration. Better yet, you can communicate to your teammates which hero you want to pick, where you want to lane, and what strategies have worked in the past. Not only are you setting yourself up for success by giving your teammates an idea of how you want to play the match, you have also gotten your teammates thinking, talking and working together.
Working with your teammates to shut down your opponents is an obvious key to success, but it is easier said than done. Keep these aspects of drafting in mind while choosing your hero:
Always keep relevant hero interactions in mind. Maybe your hero is weak against the enemy in lane but strong later on, like Axe versus Slark. During the game you may find yourself with a dark map and the enemy nowhere to be found, imagine how they would try to gank you so you can preemptively understand how best to escape.
Repay your teammates for allowing you to have last pick by choosing a hero that can take advantage of the enemy draft but also fixes holes in your own draft. When picking first, communicate your plan to your team so they know what you are thinking. If everyone has the same understanding of what you are thinking, you are likely already ahead of your enemy.
Your goal in the picking phase is no only to put together the deadliest draft in Dota, but to get your teammates talking and working together. Rather than flaming someone after First Blood, have the first subject your team talks about be the draft and the game ahead of you. If your team is working together before the match has even started, the other team might as well handover their MMR and save themselves the trouble of playing against you.